Archive for Wednesday, July 10, 1996

GROUP URGES COUNTY TO CUT SPENDING

July 10, 1996

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County officials now have heard all the requests for funding from their next budget.

Douglas County commissioners will make final decisions on their 1997 budget during the next week.

On Tuesday, at the conclusion of the second and final day of hearings on funding requests, commissioners were urged by members of a local taxpayer group to be tight with their money.

Jim Stokes, a member of the Douglas County Property Owners Assn., told commissioners he had heard a series of social service agencies request allocations that would have to be funded by the property tax.

``Somebody ought to come up here on the other side and protect our funds,'' he said.

``The valuation's going up about $45 million this year, but it looks like you guys are going to spend all of it,'' he said.

County Administrator Craig Weinaug has proposed a budget calling for $25,782,756 in expenditures, a 3.55 percent increase from last year. That proposal anticipates that the tax levy would remain constant at 25.517 mills.

A mill represents $1 in property tax for every $1,000 of appraised value.

Commissioners are likely to take final action on some version of the budget in about two weeks.

Don Cashatt, co-chair of the property owners group, said he objected to using tax money to correct social problems that result from moral decay. His comment came during discussion of a request by Hannah's House, a service agency for teen-age mothers, for a first-time appropriation of $64,429.

``The big problem gets back to morals and moral fiber,'' Cashatt said.

``We have left out the family, we have left out the church, we have left out the moral standards, and without that our nation cannot survive,'' he said.

Commissioner Mark Buhler said he did not believe the county could distance itself from social ills and that refusing to fund solutions on moral grounds might exacerbate problems the taxpayer ultimately has to pay to solve.

``I don't have the luxury of talking philosophy about why we've gone to hell,'' Buhler said. ``I have to fund the things that we can afford and that are appropriate.''

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