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Raises one week, budget shortfall the next

February 24, 2010

If we weren't questioning the logic of the Marshall County Board of Supervisors before, we definitely are now. Just a week after the board approved raises for elected officials (ranging from 3.5 to 5.5 percent) they are now scrambling to address a 3.2 percent budget shortfall.

The incongruity of raises one week and a budget shortage the next seems to be quite the coincidence. It suggests they didn't spend much time looking at the budget before they thoughtlessly handed out pay raises.

Supervisors then backpedaled at last week's meeting, suggesting they give up their raises, which appears to be an illegal act. They were a day late and more than a dollar short.

So who will take the hit? County workers, perhaps. Taxpayers definitely. To trim 3.2 percent of its budget the supervisors are going to have to make some difficult decisions, and in the end the services our tax money pays for will be compromised or taxes will be raised.

When the raises were first agreed upon, we made a case against them because of the volatile economic condition. It still stands true that it's certainly unfair to increase pay to elected officials when many workers have been laid off and others have been forced to take unpaid furloughs, received pay cuts or had their hours cut.

Now is not the time to grant pay raises when so many others are suffering. Supervisors should be looking at ways to cut expenses and save taxpayers money.

It's our hope that the board of supervisors finds a solution to the problem they contributed to and cease making fiscally irresponsible decisions.



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