Part 2 - Economic development letter criticizes
Watchdogs on county budget issues
the 12/19/05 BOC meeting, the room was full of people from at least
different agencies that receive County funding. They were there to
request that money be added back to their budgets.
McElheney represented the Library.
She indicated that they might have to cut back on the hours the
library was open as well as personnel.
David Owens representing
read a letter and complained that they might not be able to build
a new hospital if they didn’t get all their funding. Comm.
Bernard asked Mr. Owens why the hospital never let the Oversight
Committee know that the hospital had made an $800,000 profit
last year. Comm. Bernard added that Mr. Owens had told the
BOC last January that the hospital would lose about $150,000, but
instead made an $800,000 profit. Note: The hospital will
receive over $1,000 per day from the County (taxpayers) even with a
20% budget cut.
Joan Bell representing
also read a letter and asked that their funding be restored. She
told of what all Family Connection does, including Ferst Books.
Note: About 8 years ago the State initiated the Family Connection
concept. The counties were told it would cost them nothing; they
just needed to “sign off” on the “project.” Now every year, the
County is asked for money. There are other counties that do not
provide Family Connection with funds, but instead such organizations
such as Rotary, Lions, Kiwanis, etc. raise funds for Ferst Books
and other projects.
Paul Holmes representing
(DAJC) said he had a letter, but instead of reading it he said, “We
think we’re doing it on cheap.” He said it was difficult to carry
out their charge—develop industry and create jobs. Note: After the
meeting we asked for a copy of the letter he presented, as well as a
copy of the Hospital’s letter.
The EDA letter given to
the BOC accused the TWG of having a “budget hit list”
and made several other critical
remarks concerning TWG and the budget
cuts. Even though Paul Holmes, Chairman of the DAJC, signed the
letter and presented it, Ms.
Travillo (EDA Director) has since emailed us and said
she wrote it.
We have several comments on the
EDA letter (which is
on our website for you to read at www.taxdogs.com.)
The TWG has no budget “hit list” or “agenda” other than our
mission statement of wanting lower
property taxes. You don’t get lower
taxes by increasing the budget every year;
The TWG does not
promote any specific budget cuts other than cutting the supplement
from the Magistrate Judge and/or making him fill out a time sheet
for the hours he ACTUALLY works as Magistrate Judge. We did urge
the BOC to hold the line on spending, and they did keep the
millage rate the same. (Ms.
Travillo was at this meeting and heard all comments made);
feels it is improper for
the EDA or any other agency to
always have their hand out for more money.
They do not attend meetings, do not
seem to appreciate what has
happened with past county
finances, and they seem not to
understand the budget process, etc. Most
of these agencies seem to want
to raise taxes to fund their wants rather than find
alternative means of financing;
The EDA letter contains a
number of inaccuracies. The TWG does
encourage citizens to talk to commissioners and let them know how
they feel about many issues—including taxes. Comm. Bernard
made it clear at the 12/19/05 meeting that they were elected to
keep taxes low and that he
intended to stand by that pledge;
Mary Patrick, discussed some
budget issues at the Budget Hearings which is a Public
Hearing process. Two of the issues
were that the Landfill Budget had been “plugged” and that the
Curbside collections were running at about 65%. Ken Tillman,
Landfill director, had stated at an early meeting that the
revenues at the landfill would be about $250,000 less than
what Mr. Myers (the previous County Manager)
had plugged into his budget.
Mr. Tillman had only submitted revenues
of about $110,000, not $365,000.
One of the Commissioners
commented that it was understood that
Curbside profits would take care of that. They were then given
figures as to what the collections were running each quarter—about
65%. At that point, Mrs. Patrick pointed out that
the BOC would have at least a $250,000
shortfall if they didn’t do something.
Last year the old BOC was told by the
TWG they would have about a $500,000 shortfall, but did nothing.
The 2004 audit shows that they actually
ended up overspending by about
The TWG encourages anyone that receives money from the County to
start looking at the budget every year and come up with some
than to raise taxes.
Citizens should attend BOC meetings
regularly and not just when they
want money. All
citizens, including Taxpayers Watchdog Group, Inc. have a vested
interest in our county and the spending of tax money.
for all citizens in
monitoring how our taxes are spent and
insuring that the process takes
place in the open. Too many people in our county
with taxes now. We don't need more increases but better ways to use
the money now being spent.
We need ideas and alternate revenue sources—something other
than just increasing taxes.
We remind the EDA
and all citizens as to what the TWG Mission Statement is and has
keep the taxpayers of Jasper County, Georgia informed as to where
and how their tax dollars are being spent.
** To keep the taxpayers abreast of local policies and laws being
discussed and enacted.
** We advocate more open government, less government spending, and
lower property taxes.