Archived Story

Time will tell about county’s debt decisions

Published 12:10am Sunday, July 7, 2013

Ask someone about debt and you’re likely to get some heated opinions about it.

Some people will argue that debt is the devil incarnate. Owing someone can cause you to lose everything. Countless stories exist of people who became buried with debt.

On the other hand, many businesses — financial empires even — have been built on wisely managed debt. In business circles the term for debt often is traded for the much more positive sounding word, “leverage.”

Probably both sides are true.

Debt, when not properly managed, can easily drown the unsuspecting.

Debt, when properly managed and taken in moderation, can provide a basis for getting great things done.

Adams County government has been signing up to take on more and more debt over the last couple of months. County taxpayers are on the hook for nearly $19 million in new debt — approximately $580 for each man, woman and child.

Each of the three new big bond projects are aimed at improving the economy of the area — purchasing land for economic development, building levees for an industrial project and purchasing new storage facilities for the county port.

The justification for each decision seems sound, but only time will tell if the county’s latest debt gobbling will prove to be wise use of debt or something taxpayers regret.