In March 4 Issue
There is a lot taking place in Russell County and we are concerned that proper attention is not being given to the financial aspects.
A lot of financial awareness and planning will be extremely necessary in the next few years.
Russell County, if all plans are continued, will be undertaking numerous projects involving a tremendous amount of funding and adjustments.
A new court facility is underway and this will decrease the revenue to the county budget. Granted a small amount in comparison to the total budget, but a decrease that will certainly need to be adjusted.
We are building a new jail. This will be multi-million dollar project and require a bond indebtedness for several years.
The operation of the present jail is a direct expense to the county budget and newer and bigger does not mean affordable. Let’s hope that in addition to paying for building it, adequate financing planning has taken place to cover the much higher cost of running a bigger jail.
The hospital is looking at the possibility of a twenty million dollar renovation or expansion. Again, while this is a needed and desirable project, are financial safeguards in place.
The county health department is presently building a new facility. We are certain this facility will be very nice and an asset to the county. Let’s hope our present tax structure will support it.
We are told the ambulance service may need some financial assistance. While nothing official has been decided, there have been discussions on raising or implementing new taxes to support this service.
Increasing taxes at this particular time is not a very wise or pleasing thing to do.
Speaking of taxes, we would not be surprised to see a reduction in tax revenue received by the county.
Russell County has been very fortunate the past several years as property values have risen and new homes have been added to the tax books.
We would not be surprised to see a decrease in tax revenue as property values are dropping every day as home values are decreasing and new homes and lake developments are presently also on a decline.
And, as property values decrease, this can only mean tax rates will have to be increased just to maintain the present level of funding. That is without even taking into account how big an increase in taxes would be needed to meet new and additional financial demands.
We certainly hope county leaders have financial plans under control as this is definitely not the time to look at any tax increase.