Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Commissioners avoiding new taxes is a dubious achievement

At their Dec. 17 meeting, County Commissioners Dennis Stuckey, Scott Martin and Craig Lehman congratulated their department heads and staffs and, seemingly, themselves for having cut expenditures in order to achieve a balance budget for 2009 without the need for a tax increase.

But two members of the audience, taking different tacks, objected to such "fiscal responsibility" at the very time when social needs were greatest.

Robert Edwin Field (NewsLanc’s publisher) cited Keynesian economics as indicating that government should be willing to run deficits during times of high unemployment and idle equipment and, if a balanced budget is required by law, either practice "creative accounting" or increase taxes a small amount.

Bill Bonanno, an ALCOA retiree, said he "would have accepted a small tax increase if we would not have hurt the library and some of rehabilitation folks and people who are sick and handicapped. I know that industries have asked their employees if you would accept a cut to keep a fellow worker from being laid off. Two out of 3 said we will take a cut.

"As far as the library is concerned, I go there a lot. Every computer is filled by youngsters, housewives, and business people. There often a line to get on a computer."

Bonanno said he was upset about the financial handling of the library. He challenged the commissioners: "You go in there and try to go to the bathroom sometimes! There is only one bathroom and there is a single sink and a single commode. There can be five guys waiting."

The commissioners bestowed Letters of Commendation in recognition to county employees receiving awards: JDCAP "2008 Educator of the Year Award" to Matt O’Shea, School District of Lancaster Educator; "2008 National Juvenile Detention Association Bob Rader Line Staff Worker of the Year" to Maria Rodriguez, Detention Youth Care Worker; and the JDCAP "2008 Distinguished Service Award to an Individual Outside the Field of Detention in the State of Pennsylvania" to Commissioner Scott Martin.

Budd Rettew, President of Board of Director of Library System (which provides services to the independent 16 libraries) invited the Commissioners to the System's annual meeting on January 20th at 7:00 PM at the Gap Branch.

Bill Bonanno returned to recommend to the commissioners that the new morgue and forensic center be constructed on parcels of land being subdivided by its owner in their current vicinity near Conestoga View Nursing Home.