LETTER: Re-examine county spending
The Laurens county council needs to revisit the spending habits of the past 15 years. They have allowed the personal enjoyment and welfare of a few to creep into the taxpayers' pockets.
Allow me to point out several practices of the wasteful spending of your dollars.
Mrs. Anderson commented at a meeting last month that she felt the county attorney's services could be advertised for public bid. She could have made a motion, received a second allowing a discussion. The county's attorney total compensation package, as a full time employee of a mere 24 hour a week (3 days, Monday, Wednesday and Friday) amounts to $120,000 per year. Plus the fact, he injects his opinions into the business of County Council. Why not conduct a time study and determine the actual time need for legal advice?
Another budgetary area of interest is all of the county difference identities that have some form of economic development activity. We have the county’s economic development corporation budget of $500,000. The major monies of this is the county’s fee in lieu of taxes. The director total compensation package, including $1,000 per month car allowance ranges in the $130,000 plus bracket. I'm under the impression one of staff members salary is over $60,000. They also paid for the addition ($80,000) on the Chamber's building which they now rent from the chamber, as office space, which they own! The EDC has "two" (2) membership fees at local golf clubs. You can understand that they entertain their friends on weekend golf outings on your tax dollars.
You have the Commission of Public Works, The City of Laurens, Clinton-Newberry Gas, The City of Clinton Development Board, and Laurens Electric supporting economic development, Chamber of Commerce, Piedmont Tech College and the County Council interested in economic development. Whatever happened to team work? The past 12 years or more we have allowed some elected officials to focus on Big Government, industrial development, and personal welfare of elected and non- elected officials.
In this election, Laurens County taxpayers need to express their dissatisfaction with the waste of their tax dollars. You need to spend the next month meeting and asking questions of those seeking election. What is their desire, interest and direction of this county. It's your county; the future of your children, depends on you.
Wasteful spending of the tax payers dollars is evident.
The total county property tax collection range in the neighborhood of $7,000,000. The remaining amount of the county's operation budget is made up from fines/fees and the state. The County Administrator has recommended a 2.2 mill increase in property taxes. Most people don't understand these terms and need to understand the value of a Laurens County Mill. The 2017 mill is valued at $169,000, a short fall of $371,800 in the recommended budget. The County Council could balance this budget with no increase in taxes.
Economic development should be a community interest and all parties work together.
I recommend The Economic Development Board's budget be reduced to a reasonable amount; $ 500,000 is an exorbitant amount of tax payers money to allow a group of non-elected people control and spend with no oversight .
The County Council has a larger than needed surplus of tax dollars collected Under the titles of "Reserve Fund & Capital improvement". It exceeds the normal recommended amount, ( 10% of a $22 million budget = $2.2 Million) they have close to 10 times the recommended amount.
No tax increase, spend this slush fund money.
Jayhue Weisner Sr.,
Past chairman of the CC finance committee,