County shouldn’t ask for pay raise

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 8, 1999

Ask any successful businessman – or business woman – and you’ll get the same answer: When times are tough, you tighten your belt and look for ways to reduce expenses.

You don’t give yourself a pay raise.

It’s simple advice that the Adams County Board of Supervisors should heed.

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Instead, supervisors are proposing a 1999-2000 fiscal year budget that’s nearly 10 percent larger than this year’s budget. Moreover, the growth would be funded by a 3.66 mill tax increase for all Adams County taxpayers.

The increase, according to county leaders, is needed to pay for such projects as the new juvenile justice center (a state mandated, long-debated new facility); long overdue courthouse repairs; replacing old equipment; and an 8 percent pay raise for county employees.

It is a budget that one astute businessman described recently as out of touch with Adams County’s economy.

With layoffs at Natchez Regional Medical Center and International Paper’s Natchez mill (two of the area’s largest employers) and the more than 200 former Fidelity Tire Manufacturing Co. workers still on strike against Titan Tire, it’s absurd to think that the county can simply pass along another tax increase to its residents without exhausting every effort to reduce expenses and tighten its belt. And that means eliminating the 8 percent across-the-board payraises for Adams County employees.

When hundreds of Adams County residents are losing their jobs, it’s galling to think that supervisors should force them to pay more taxes to fund somebody else’s raise.

Instead, we expect our elected supervisors to exhaust every effort to reduce and manage expenses; to prioritize spending and projects for the upcoming year; in short, to be better managers of our tax money and our county.

And we expect a budget that more accurately reflects the economy here.

Note: The supervisors will hold a second public hearing on the proposed budget at 9 a.m. Friday in the board meeting room on State Street.