Letters to the Editor
September 3, 2011
County addicted to spending
Curry County commissioners were in Brookings Aug. 20 (TEA Party event) and 22 (town hall meeting) to provide financial information and answer citizen questions. The destination resort subject dominated the town hall meeting.
A local news article July 24, 2011, combined both events. Commissioner Itzen felt the county finance problem was due to a lack of revenue. Commissioner Waddle estimated property taxes would need to increase $1.40 per $1,000 of assessed valuation.
The article went on about a car at the Azalea Middle School parking lot having a Sarah Palin sticker on it. What?
What was not addressed by commissioners during these events or the news article were the following citizen comments.
•The county’s financial woes were caused by an addiction to spending. County general fund appropriations increased 33 percent over the last four fiscal years.
•Last year taxpayers paid $2.3 million just for county employee health insurance premiums.
•Last year citizens paid $24,000 just for the county clerk and assessor (husband and wife) insurance premiums.
•Last year citizens paid around $1.4 million for a second county employee retirement system. (Oregon Public Employees Retirement System – PERS)
•Citizens guarantee (regardless of any investment losses) an 8 percent return on nearly all PERS funds.
•Over the next two years citizens will pay an estimated $400,000 more into county employee PERS accounts to offset investment losses.
•Dollars dedicated to PERS losses for the Brookings School District will be approximately $800,000 over two years.
•Statewide this additional funding for PERS losses takes priority above all other budget items and over the next two years will be around $1 billion dollars.
There is no long term solution for the county’s finances short of the elimination of collective bargaining for public employees and privatizing of county mandated services.
For more on No PERS Member Left Behind go to http://inrethepeople.wordpress.com.
Why the airport and golf course now?
According to our three county commissioners our county is in dire financial straits now.
Most, if not all, of us would agree with that. Instead of trying to solve a “now” problem now, why are they working on some “pie in the sky” idea, which if it ever did come to fruition after numerous studies and countless court challenges, would take 10 or 15 years before the county got any jobs or revenue (except for the attorneys, of course).
They keep putting on these “dog and pony shows” to make us think they will respond to the wishes of the people who elected them. Three of them: One of them “hell bent for leather” to get the deed done by any means fair or foul; the other two go along saying they are also in favor but looking like school boys being sent to the principal’s office. Their lips say “yes” but the eyes look away. Undoubtedly the rogue commissioner must not intend to run for re-election.
Folks, please refer to Joel Summer’s excellent editorial in the Aug. 10 edition of The Curry County Reporter and also the great letters to the editor in all of our local papers. Ask yourselves about the timeliness and practicality of this madness and then tell these three commissioners who we elected, what we want.
Let’s paraphrase the following: “Remember, all that is necessary for evil to succeed is that good men do nothing”.
TEA Note: The above letter is a small sample of the interest generated by the golf course issue.