Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Budget Vice Reveals True Values

Both Fayetteville and Springdale city governments are suffering the effects of a fiscal hangover from over-reliance on the sales tax to fund operations and capital projects. Now that revenues are down, we can see what our elected leaders and their paid advisers really care about.

Fayetteville is looking at cutting the budget of the Fayetteville Public Library, but they seem to have plenty of money for installing and powering the Lights of the Ozarks spectacle. They opposed the road impact fees on developers, and now they are proposing to raise everyone's property taxes. They continue to provide an airport for corporate officers and university administrators, but they say there's no money for a cost of living wage adjustment for police and firefighters. Oh, they are also going to raise the water and sewer rates on low-income residents to operate the system while continuing to give special cheaper rates to industrial and business customers.

Washington County government is also talking tax increases. The most telling is that Sheriff Tim Helder thinks he has solved all the crime in the county and has plenty of extra money to train, equip, and pay deputies to chase down illegal immigrants in the county, but he wants to lay a sales tax increase on local citizens to expand the jail to hold these undocumented aliens indefinately while waiting for the feds to come get them.

Springdale is the absolute worst of the whole bunch. The Mayor is proposing a wage freeze on all city employees, for both cost-of-living and promotions, but the city seems to have plenty of money to continue giving the Springdale Chamber of Commerce $177,000 a year to do whatever they want to do.

Watch closely, keep your hand on your wallet, and take notes on how your city and county officials vote their values. Then you can return the favor, either way.

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