Justifying or attempting to justify an unnecessary tax increase has become something of a cottage industry in Conway this week.
A few County Councilmen have nearly tripped over themselves trying to come up with more and better reasons for supporting one of Council’s biggest tax hikes in a generation. Their efforts to explain this tax hike to taxpayers runs the gamut from unconvincing to just plain silly.
We are told that this situation is an emergency and that this budget must be passed on Tuesday night in order to meet the June 30 deadline. But the inconvenient truth is this “disaster” is one that Council has created. They got themselves into a pickle, and now they want an easy way out. And one of the easiest ways out, as always, is to ask taxpayers for more money. But as the old saying goes, “poor planning on your part does not make for an emergency on my part!”
The fact is, when it was presented for first reading, the 2016 budget did not contain a tax increase. So where did this tax increase come from? Well, it turns out that the first reading of the budget, which gave a whopping pay raise to County Administrator Chris Eldridge, while at the same time cutting benefits for firemen, police, and other county employees, wasn’t very popular politically with most anyone except for the County Administrator. That may not shock you. It apparently shocked many on Council.