Here they go again

Published 8:48 am Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Once again, elected leadership in Franklin and Southampton County is doing the annual dance called the budget shortfall shuffle.

Cut funding for services, raise taxes. Raise taxes, cut funding for services. Round and round we go.

Franklin and Southampton share a history that includes more years together than apart. And although the decision was made 50 years ago, for whatever reason, to split one community into two separate governments, they continue to share more similarities than differences. Chief among them being both governments generate too little revenue to cover too many expenses.

This year as budgets are being prepared, the only proposed solutions once again are to cut funding for services and raise real estate taxes. Round and round we go.

We have consistently taken the position on this very page that a very sensible way to start balancing the budget would be for this one community with two different governments to begin sharing services again, just like it did until 50 years ago.

The benefits would include cutting out needless administrative expenses, staffing departments with the best and most talented employees from the separate municipal departments, and taking advantage of economies of scale to actually improve the quality of services provided to the taxpayer.

Yet neither side seems willing to make the move toward reconciliation and partnership. The result will likely be a continued reduction in funding for services and ever-increasing property taxes. Round and round we go.

The citizens of both the city and county are tired of this dance, but they continue to have the same song played for them over and over.

Perhaps it’s time to hire a new band.