Official explains why he didn’t support IOW budget

Published 8:44 am Friday, May 27, 2011

To the Editor:

“Al, why didn’t you vote for the budget? It was less than last year.”

To begin, there was no real public discussion of the budget detail. Secondly, a number of errors in the budget were pointed out from the beginning and were never corrected.

The budget passed was $44,000 more than the detailed expenditures. The budget also had a number of errors wherein the salaries and wages listed for a department exceeded the personnel summary by job class/position total; one department had a seemingly salary overstatement of about $40,000.

The sheriff was another department with an apparent salaries error exceeding $10,000. There seemed to be nearly enough money in these errors to give all county employees who were hired before July of last year a 1.5 percent raise this July 1.

The only other employee wage comment was by Supervisor Stan Clark asking County Administrator Doug Caskey to come back in four or five months about giving our employees a raise. It was not discussed by the board.

If you are going to give raises, give them effective July 1, not just before the elections in the fall. That looks pretty politically motivated.

The same goes for building a new school in Windsor without making certain it is needed beforehand. There was no research or direct vote on building a new Windsor school before the capital budget was passed 3-2 that included the school.

Also, some organizations requesting support were granted 100 percent or more increases without any public discussion by the board. When and where were those items approved?

Lastly, the budget included a 25 percent increase in real estate taxes, which citizens tell me they can’t afford. Nobody researched whether a tax increase was needed if the errors were corrected and the school wasn’t built.

The capital budget has a $15.6 million increase — a 500 percent increase. All of it will come from new debt. The citizens don’t need or want that this year, and it could well eliminate the entire tax increase.

Any more questions?

Al Casteen
Smithfield District
Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisors