Give Or Take

  Thge Sussex County Council has released their end of year report in which they tell tax payers that the county collected  3.4 million dollars too much this past year.

  Okay, that isn’t exactly what the press release from Chip Guy said, but it is what it amounts to.  The report calls it a surplus, but that is only possible if they have collected more than they have spent. Let me give credit where credit is due. The Sussex County Council has consistently kept spending down while not raising property taxes. Though they have from time to time raised fees.

   Another reason for the surplus is that the transfer tax revenue was higher than projected. This is always good news, since it is a sign that the home market may be turning the corner.

  I do have one reservation about the news of the surplus. That is the news that the council intends to return, in a one time tax credit, a little more than one million dollars on tax bills later this year. The rest will go to the County’s pension funds, local law enforcement, land preservation and various grants.

  The problem I have is why not give more back to the people the money was taken from? Instead the council intends to give the money to county worker in the form of pension payments. They will fund local law enforcement. But what should upset all tax payers is the grant money that the council will hand out as they see fit.

  In the past the council has given tax dollars to fund little league, fireworks display at a church and funding for other private ventures.

  Would it not be more in keeping with conservative principles to allow the tax payers to keep more of their money so that they could decide for themselves which private enterprises to donate to? Shouldn’t local law enforcement receive their funding from their local taxes? As for the county pensions, well maybe we should see a higher percentage donated by the employees themselves.

  We have a county council populated with four out of five, by Republicans. Shouldn’t we expect more from them in the way of conservative principles. I am grateful for their efforts to keep property taxes low. I am grateful for them keeping the spending down. But when we find ourselves over taxing the citizens, then the conservative thing to do is to give the money back to the tax payers.

  I don’t know what a million dollars spread across all of the tax bills in the county will amount to, but I do know that two million would be more.


7 Responses to “Give Or Take”

  1. county employee Says:

    Frank, I agree with part of your comment about giving the money to churchs and fireworks, etc. As far as the pensioners they are not getting much. I spoke with a lady tonight that wanted to know if I was getting a raise. As I am a county employee. She informed me that she is getting $1.66 more a month and she was employed for 30 years, So they didn’t put much to the pension fund.
    People think that county employees make a lot of money, some do but there are alot of employees that qualify for state assistance. Yes we do have excellent benefits and we don’t argue that. However, regardless of what a certain councilman said what the average employee makes he obviously included our benefits. The benefits do not pay our bills. We would have liked to have had part of the money they collected too much of and felt we helped collect.

  2. frankknotts Says:

    C E, well I know you get the larger point here, that if the government has a surplus, it is because they collected more than they spent. Time to give back the maximum without putting the good fiscal history the county has at risk. I am not saying that the county employees do not deserve their pay, or thier pentions. However as we have seen in Wisconsin and New Jersey, this is the time to make cuts, or at the very least hold the line. Government at all levels in Delaware has gotten out of hand. The state is the number one employer, far out pacing the private sector in growth. I would be happy however if the county council would set an example for the state and do away with “ALL” discretionary spending. Buying championship rings for high schools is beyond the scope of any level of government. Also, do we now have to pay for rings for a girls soccer team? If not is that equal representation under the law?
    So lets you and I start there, and work on the other parts.

  3. independent voter Says:

    A bit about county workers.
    I have been in construction for thirty years, a good number of fellow workers have left for county jobs.They left for the benefits, mostly the ones that started families and needed the healthcare.
    They realize, when times are bad, they need to suck it up. They provide a needed service for the residents.and they want to be treated fairly.They also vote and pay taxes.

  4. frankknotts Says:

    Independent Voter, are you saying that the county employees realize that when times are tough that they may face cuts the same as private sector workers. A government job should not be for life. The county should place the welfare of the citizens first, without the citizens who work outside of the government there is no support for the government. Remember, government employess do not generate revenue for the government through their taxes the same as private sector employees because the money they are paid comes from the government through taxing private sector jobs and businesses. So when a government employee is taxed it is a push at best. This is why it is so important to return surplusses back to the citizens, so that the private sector can expand. Government should only grow in respect to the needs of the people, its growth should never out pace that of the private sector, Here in Delaware it has.

  5. independent voter Says:

    Yes, I am saying they realize they may face cuts. I agree on returning the surpluses to the taxpayers.

    I think county governments are rather small and easier to manage than state or federal.

  6. frankknotts Says:

    True, but all too often they become just scaled down versions of their state and federal cousins. When you add in the money they take from state and federal, you also lose local control. This often adds to the growth of govenrment. They feel they must take the money or some other county will anyway. I actually had Councilman Phillips make this arguement to me about taking fedeal money to build the county solar field. This from someone who is portrayed as a small government conservative. The seductive power of the money is real. The power to controll it often blinds thoses involved to the fact that it is not their money, but yours and mine.

  7. independent voter Says:

    Lets face it Frank, its always about the money, weather its lobbyists, pacs, superpacs, crony capitalist, pork barrel spending. We live in a country, hell, a world where the dollar is the most important thing. I’m not saying it’s right, but there it is.

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