With just 18 days until Election Day, it is easy to get caught up in the presidential and senate races to the exclusion of what is going on locally. Fortunately, Prince William County has seen an increase in blogs focused almost exclusively on local happenings — The Sheriff of Nottingham of Prince William County, The Derecho and The (Al) Alborn Foundation are doing great work in this arena in addition to our colleague Greg Letiecq at Black Velvet Bruce Li.
The three former ones have been on top of the county’s FY 2014 budget process, which has proven to be more open this year, but not without issues. The main topic of discussion comes down to what the county really needs and what it wants. I encourage anyone from PWC to visit these sites for fuller discussions about this and how the decisions that will be made over the coming months will impact your wallet for years to come.
* Every dollar in increased revenue from rising assessments should be dedicated to a reduction in the Flat Tax Bill tax rate. The County needs to stop being the beneficiary of increases in home values when they did not share in the pain individual homeowners have experienced in declining home values over the past five years; and
* Eliminate unnecessary program spending and cut overfunded programs;
* Eliminate Community Partner funding for all but those non-profits who clearly demonstrate they provide a mandated service more efficiently and more cost effectively than the government can. We need to get County government out of the business of picking winners and losers among private charities that receive taxpayer money; and
* Target budget cuts on specific agencies equal to the average “agency returns” from each of these agencies over the past three years to the carryover fund.
These proposals are worthy of discussion, particularly taking a hard look at the “carryover funds.” If agencies have been allocated too much money on a consistent basis that is then left over at the end of each fiscal year, doesn’t it make sense to dial back on the amounts they are being given in the first place instead of treating it each year like new found money that they can then spend however they like? As more than one of the aforementioned bloggers have pointed out, the carryover fund process is an even bigger disgrace than the supervisors’ now-defunct slush funds were.
Meanwhile, BVBL has been tracking the story of the federal government cutting off their agreement with the county on 287(g) immigration enforcement as of Dec. 31st. This has been a true success with former Gainesville Supervisor John Stirrup and Chairman Corey Stewart deserving credit for proposing and championing it respectively. One can only hope that the new Romney /Ryan administration reverses course on this and reinstates the agreement upon assuming office.