Writer responds to STAR article, editorial

Published 9:18 am Monday, July 30, 2018

To the editor:
Let me add “reporting on raising taxes can be a tricky business.” I read the two articles in the weekend edition of the STAR with a vested interest. I found it interesting that the finance director’s weigh-in what his opinion without facts relating to what he thinks.
I went to a website GFOA Government Finance Officers Association and looked at “best practices.” Fund balance guidelines for the general fund. I found it to be a very interesting read (available for all). I learned that it is essential that governments maintain adequate levels of fund balance to mitigate current and future risk, etc. I knew that, but as I read on, it said “nonetheless,” financial resources available in other funds should also be considered in assessing the adequacy of unrestricted fund balance in the general fund.
I haven’t heard anyone in these public meetings ask “how much money does the county have?” And, if you ask, the chances of getting an answer would be slim to none. Why don’t someone “demand” the answer to that question, and sorry but proof is needed instead of, but this, or but that. Tell us how much total money is in the county coffers. Require an average daily balance sheet that includes all money. That will tell us how much money the county has. Get that for one year.
With all the computers and accounting practices, that should be an easy, quick think. Try it, let’s just see.
Then I read “nevertheless” GFOA recommends at a minimum that general purpose governments, regardless of size, maintain a restricted budgetary fund balance in their general fund of no less that two months. (I think we are required to have 25 percent) of regular fund operating expenses. This amount should be adjusted according to conditions particular to the area with a consideration relating to volatile revenue source, natural disasters (we had one in 1998), regular funding cuts, etc.
Historical data says we are in pretty good shape there.
Now, give me a few words relating to the opinion column. It states that “counties are asked to do more for more people without the resources they need.” Asked to do more? I don’t remember any “do more” items in the budget. For more people? I believe if you check there is about a thousand fewer in the county now than there was at the last census, and then of course, less resources would be a natural result of fewer taxpayers. So, I find that statement to be oxymoron posted without thought. Our population is moving to surrounding counties that are “forward thinking,” improving their resources with the relocation of our population, and with improving their economic, education, and other opportunities. Then you mentioned the roads. Did you know that there were cuts for two departments, one of these two was the highway department, the other was the EMA. There’s an enemy of Carter County “lurking” out there.
“Blind belief in authority is the greatest enemy of truth.” — Albert Einstein

Robert Carroll

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