Sunday, June 15, 2008

June 16 Committee Meeting- Key Items

  • Approval of $40M in additional bonded debt
  • Approval of sale of South High School
  • Contract with Tourism & Sports (divvying up the hotel/motel tax)
  • Library / PBA contract break
  • New financial controls (auditable expense accounts, eliminate p-cards, no more interest-only payments on bonds, quarterly statements from Finance)
  • Civil Service proposal (ahem, see below)
  • Establish new tax rates (or leave them as is)

See you there!

Live update- apparently it's not a joint Finance/IG meeting today. Finance is passing lots of things through without recommendation so far.

Some discussion about the County Travel policy- trying to keep the big boys on a per diem, without strangling rank-and-file employees who might get sent to San Francisco and could lose out on a per diem approach. Owings notes there is an exception to handle these cases, but there doesn't seem to be a copy of the travel policy on the County web site. Making these policies available to the voters would be a good step!

Pinkston just proposed, amongst a number of other changes (some very good ideas, too) to eliminate the wheel tax and replace it with a $0.15 property tax hike (about 6%). His argument is that the burden actually goes down for working class people, while raising more funds (and thus less borrowing).

'Across the board' cuts are stupid and show a lack of leadership. It penalizes parts of the organizations that operate at higher efficiency than those 'fatter' part of the organizations.

What's really interesting about Pinkston's proposal is that it's a progressive tax hike. The average working Joe/Jane gets a small cut or it has no effect, while those with higher $$ properties and business properties get soaked by the tax increases. Yes, the supply-siders will way that the increase on businesses will be eventually paid by everyone, but any business is going to be hard pressed to raise prices (other than to cover their rising fuel and materials costs!) in this environment.

I'll go on record as saying I'd rather have a progressive tax hike than more debt. I'd modify Pinkston's raise proposal to something like $50K or $60K.

If I were up there, I'd post all the county vehicles on the Web (including make/model) and let the power of crowds audit the necessity of our vehicle fleet.

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