Letter: County spending needs to be controlled
I feel compelled to correct a few statements made by Mr. Sanderson in his letter to the editor on Feb. 24. The gathering at the civic center on Gwynn’s Island where 48 concerned taxpayers met was not an anti-school voice at all. We met because the spending by the Board of Supervisors in Mathews County doubled from 1995 to 2005, swelling in 2008/2009 to an outrageous $23 million. The current budget year is down some to just under $21 million.
No one at the meeting spoke harshly of our teachers. Quite the contrary, comments including some of my own, praised our school system and the fine job they do. It is no accident that my two kids are doing well in college. They both got a solid foundation from Mathews County Public Schools.
The suggestion for the buses was to delay replacing them if they can be safely utilized past 10 years. I believe this is one of the unfunded state mandates. The other suggestion about school bus stops comes from back in the day when the bus did not stop every quarter mile to pick up one child. There were bus stops placed in a safe location where the kids gathered each school day to socialize before classes began. I seem to remember we all looked forward to it. The benefit to the budget is that if you can save 10 percent of a $700,000 fuel bill, you can put $70,000 in reserves to buy a new school bus when it is needed. These suggestions were meant to help, we are after all being asked to foot part of the bill.
There was a time when the stewards of our county felt compelled to account for every penny of taxpayer money spent. Our meeting was about returning to that era. The money, whether it comes from federal, state or local sources, belongs in part or entirely to our taxpaying citizens. Our taxes have increased to the point where we need to split the bill to make the payment more palatable, and we had to increase the eligibility limits for tax relief to the elderly just so some could pay the higher taxes. I think this is a slap in the face to our hard-working retired citizens, some of whom are taxed beyond their means, and are now becoming welfare recipients. Most of us are now facing a brutal assault in the form of the preposterous and erroneous property reassessments.
Our tax rate needs to be lowered and each line item in the entire budget must be justified.