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Budget demands creativity, logic
I recently read the open letter sent out by the heads of each Island County Department and wrote the county commissioners about the suggestions made in the letter. One suggestion was to eliminate all support for organizations like Beach Watchers, Scouts, WSU Extension, and others. The argument for this action was these are not “mandated” operations essential to county operations. Regardless of how the sheriff, auditor, assessor, prosecutor, clerk, and treasurer feel about these organizations, residents of Island County actively use these groups and support their programs. That’s part of what makes this a great place to live. If these programs are forced out, many citizens will suffer in numerous ways.
It is unfortunate that the county commissioners failed to see this financial “crisis” in their budgetary process like most of us did over a year ago. We are all struggling with the results of deregulation, an expensive and useless war, and eight years of an administration that ignored our financial well-being. Commissioner Homola has told me they didn’t see it coming, they were “wagering” on discretionary spending, and “only became aware of the gravity of the situation a month ago.”
Ms. Homola also indicated the public doesn’t understand and must give more, believes the voters take county services for granted, and wants to lift the levy cap of 1 percent on property taxes to solve the (so-called) crisis.
Now we are faced with department heads pushing ultimatums on the commissioners, emergency cuts, elimination of programs desired by the public, and a budget so poorly conceived that it can only be viewed as irresponsible. I can hardly wait to hear their solution, will it involve state lottery tickets or trips to Vegas? Or will it result from creative, logical plans the commissioners were elected to create?