Wants, needs of county & town governments outpace modest growth in tax base

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Pamlico taps savings for $1.2 million. Oriental ups property tax. Craven continues spending spree.

Monday night, Bossy Hardison, (left) the Pamlico County Forest Ranger; and Andy Meadows, District Forester, managed to eke out a commitment from the Pamlico County Commissioners to fund 40 percent of the cost for a new pickup truck. The two men will request the remaining funds from state government.

Monday night, Bossy Hardison, (left) the Pamlico County Forest Ranger; and Andy Meadows, District Forester, managed to eke out a commitment from the Pamlico County Commissioners to fund 40 percent of the cost for a new pickup truck. The two men will request the remaining funds from state government.

News Analysis

EASTERN NORTH CAROLINA – Local economies are on a steady, but slow recovery from the Great Recession. However, local town and county governments can’t wait. They want to party like it’s still 2005 and 2006 – when real estate values were hitting unheard of highs, and generating plenty of property tax revenues along the way.

Have some pity on the poor guys and gals who get elected to public office – they are always being asked to fund this or that project.

Charities and nonprofits want money. Department heads show up to plead for new bells and whistles – and, of course, argue eloquently for employee pay raises. And, then there’s always higher health insurance premiums, which occur because ‘third parties’ pay the bills. Unlike the price of gasoline, health care costs are not subject to the good old laws of supply and demand – where the tough buying decisions of consumers automatically set an appropriate price.


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So, it’s mighty hard for an elected official to say ‘no.’ Expenditures get approved, more often than not. Across eastern North Carolina, budget preparations are now in full swing. Your county and town must come up with a balanced budget for the next fiscal year, which begins July 1. When things are tight, seldom does much get cut. The usual options are: Tap savings or increase taxes!

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The table, above, describes a boatload of increasing expenditures for Pamlico County.

 

The table, above, clearly shows that ‘fund balance’ (fancy word for government savings account) is how Pamlico County officials will close the gap this year.

The table, above, clearly shows that ‘fund balance’ (fancy word for government savings account) is how Pamlico County officials will close the gap this year.

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