Budget concerns creeping up

May. 05, 2013 @ 05:05 AM

With Rutherford County and the municipalities therein going through the budget process, there are some issues starting to seep out of the woodwork.

The Town of Spindale is facing a stagnant tax base but an ever-present rise in the cost of doing business. That paints the town in a very difficult position.

Facing a loss of the Ellington Heights subdivision due to the U.S. 221 project, potential closure of the prison camp and relying on a very small number of industry in the town, Spindale is seeing what towns across America are witnessing ... the potential of cutting programs or slashing payroll to meet declining revenue projections.

No elected official wants to raise taxes. It is almost an unspoken rule of town and county commissioners to do everything in their power to avoid placing the increasing cost of doing business on the taxpayers.

With Spindale staring $144,315 more in expenses than reveune right in the face, increasing the revenue base by raising taxes is an option on the table.

A balanced budget is in order for the Town of Spindale but that should not be on the backs of the hardworking residents of the community.

That leaves one other option ... personnel cuts and trimming services.

None of the options Spindale has are beneficial to anyone. And, town officials know it.

"The number one thing in our town is the citizens, they are at the forefront of my mind," said Cameron McHargue, Spindale town manager, to The Daily Courier. "And raising taxes is not the best solution — it's not acceptable and it's not a sustainable approach to citizens. Things are not improving at a rate to justify a hike in taxes."

Commissioner Andrew Kirton said that Spindale residents have lost enough services and experienced enough tax increases.

Unfortunately, holding to that philosophy takes all options of a balanced budget off the table and that is not going to work.

A potential solution is a restructure. McHargue has presented a budget that consolidates zoning and code enforcement. Additionally, trash service will experience a $2 per month increase along with other cuts that should not be visible to taxpayers.

Is it a responsible budget proposal? Whether it is or it isn't, it is the only option the Town of Spindale has.

The pain in Spindale has not been without casualties. There have been personnel cuts in different departments as well as the potential for a reduction in force in 2014 and positions not filled after retirement.

With a public hearing scheduled for later in May, we believe it is important for taxpayers in Spindale to express their views and, if there are other palatable solutions, the Town should listen to its citizens and work for the best possible solution to its budget situation.

By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board

 

The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett, Dr. Shermaine Surratt and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark