Mt. Vernon Register-News

October 25, 2013

Buck addresses county finances


The Register-News

---- — Dear Editor:

It is very difficult to remain speechless when the newspaper is full of county government financial news.

In the past few weeks we have read in the news that the county is in the red fiscally, that we do not have sufficient funds to meet our obligations, that we are in arrears in our local vendor payments on the negative side.

Now all of a sudden we are told that we have a balanced budget due the hard work of the board chairman and fiscal chairman.

Let’s discuss these items one at a time and see what kind of math is being applied to our county.

The “in red budget” is due to spending more than you taking in. The overdue local vendor payments are the treasurer’s prioritizing who when he pays the invoice supplied by the numerous vendors. The balanced 2013-2014 budget the chairman bragged about is dictated by state statute. The real test is the final budget as of Nov. 30, 2014, and that is months away. Now please advise the voters of this county that the 2013-2014 budget has absolutely nothing to do with the current budget and your current budget is far from balanced. What is it you do not understand?

After receiving all this bad news about our county finances, we then read in the paper we are going to start returning laid-off employees in some offices to the tune of $50,000 per employee including all benefits. We are going to increase our insurance previously furnished by Travelers Insurance Co. by at least a minute amount of $100,000, and we are going to give 4 percent raises to the employees which is a measly $280,000 of a $7 million annual payroll.

I was on the board when we received the Travelers bid at about half the competitor bids and the chairman made lots of comments about his ability to save so much insurance premium. Well Mr. Chairman, let’s see it once again. Also, could you please advise the taxpayers where this increase in funds is going to originate other than in your dreams.

Finally, when I was chair, the sheriff and I had an energy audit taken, and we then applied for grants to the state and Ameren. We had a local contractor give us a no-cost bid for this modification to the courthouse and the jail. The total cost was $250,000 with the county spending only one-tenth of that with no construction manager and job completed satisfactorily.

We also bid and erected a $400,000 building at the highway department with no problems and complete satisfaction with no construction manager. Why are we now going back to a contract manager for a possible courthouse renovation and at a possible cost of over $500,000?

Just a few thoughts you should consider.

Ted Buck

Dodds Township taxpayer