Edgecombe County residents will have a chance to make their voices heard next week on the county’s spending plan for 2014-15. It’s hard to think of a bigger budget dilemma than the one facing Edgecombe County right now.
As Telegram staff writer Darla Slipke has reported, County Manager Lorenzo Carmon first presented the Board of Commissioners with a budget proposal that included a 6 cent property tax rate increase. That would have taken Edgecombe’s property tax rate from 86 cents per $100 valuation – already one of the highest in the state – to 92 cents per $100 valuation.
County commissioners rejected that plan, emphatically saying that a tax hike is not the answer.
And so the alternative – a budget that would eliminate 34 positions in the county government work force and cut other expenses by about $1.1 million.
While our more conservative friends likely will applaud the reduction of government spending, the proposed cuts are likely to have a very real impact on public schools, social services and Edgecombe Community College.
That’s why it’s important for county residents to turn out in force for the public hearing on the budget at 7 p.m. Monday. County commissioners are expected to vote on the plan after hearing from their constituents.
Edgecombe County desperately needs financial relief, both now and in the future. Some commissioners already have expressed worries that property values will decline, leading to a loss of revenue.
Solid answers to the dilemma facing the county will no doubt be welcomed.