Thursday, August 26, 2010

Hardin County Overspent – Now Firing Employees

Hardin County Overspent – Now Firing Employees

Remember earlier this year when I was running for county commissioner? I told the people of Lumberton that Hardin County has been overspending and overtaxing the people and that it could not be sustained.

Well what do you know? Hardin County has just come out and said they are not going to be able to cover all of their bills next year. All of their enormous tax and spending increases over the last couple of years could not be sustained anymore in this weakened economy. I told them that but they didn’t listen. So next year Hardin County will be $500,000 in the hole and who knows how much in the hole the next year.

Years ago Hardin County should have recognized that America was in a recession and stopped expanding their spending year after year. Now they are faced with the weakened economy catching up to them and they will have to fire employees. The funny thing is, the $500,000 they are in the hole is exactly how much the county splurged when they built the replica dome at the courthouse. Yes the replica dome looks nice, but it should not have been built when the county knew we were going into a recession and would need that money down the road. Well now we are down the road and need the money.

Judge Caraway suggested he would give up his $7,500 pay raise for next year. I am glad he is suggesting that as a way to help balance the budget. But this nice gesture from the Judge has actually backfired because when people heard that the Judge was giving up his $7,500 pay raise for next year the thought in everyone’s mind was WHAT IS HE GETTING A $7,500 PAY RAISE FOR IN THE FIRST PLACE. We are in a weakened economy and the tax burden on the people has skyrocketed and here we have the county judge of this small county getting a $7,500 pay raise in one year!? That is half of someone’s minimum wage yearly salary.

The County Judge is right though. The average worker is most likely not getting a pay raise this year so they need to cut back on their pay raises too. But the judge is not thinking into the future. The cut in pay raises will help in the short term, but the county also needs to do something to balance the budget for the future. The county needs to cut their budget back.

Commissioner Ken Pelt has suggested cutting some county employees that they hired in their spending spree a couple years ago. Ken Pelt is actually thinking right and trying to fix the budget for the long term. But the fact is that these people will now be out of a job. The county should have never hired them in the first place and these people would have gone out and found a more secure job somewhere else. Instead they were hired by the county in a spending spree and now are getting fired. Mr. Pelt is right. It needs to be done. The county has to scale back their spending and that includes cutting employees. But the county was wrong in the first place for hiring them in a spending spree and now instead of these people having a secure job somewhere else, they are getting sent packing without much warning.

David Bellow