Edgecombe makes tough budget choice

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Kudos to Edgecombe County commissioners for listening to their constituents and making a tough decision to help navigate the county through one of the biggest budget challenges it ever has faced.

As Telegram staff writer Darla Slipke reported in Tuesday’s edition, the Edgecombe County board turned out for its meeting Monday night bearing an unenviable burden. Commissioners had all but signed off on a plan to cut $1.7 million from the proposed 2014-15 budget. The reductions would have meant the loss of 34 jobs in county government and significant funding cuts to Edgecombe County Public Schools, Edgecombe Community College and the Edgecombe County Department of Social Services.

The cuts also would have spelled big headaches in the future. Such a loss in county funding would have meant that Edgecombe County Schools no longer would have qualified for “low wealth” funding provided by the state to economically struggling counties. Had the budget cuts remained unchanged, Edgecombe County Public Schools would have lost every nickel of low wealth funding from the state by fiscal 2017-18. Superintendent John Farrelly called the potential impact devastating, and he wasn’t exaggerating. In the past school year alone, the Edgecombe system received more than $3.5 million from the low wealth fund.

Led by Commissioner Viola Harris, the Edgecombe Board voted to split the difference between huge funding cuts or a giant tax increase. Under the budget adopted Monday night, Edgecombe County’s property tax rate goes up by 3.5 cents to 89.5 cents per $100 valuation.

The commissioners’ decision to change the budget dramatically demonstrates the openness they have to the voices of constituents. More than a dozen people spoke during a public hearing before the vote.

Edgecombe County and Eastern North Carolina need jobs and a jolt to the tax base. Otherwise, counties like Edgecombe will be facing tough budget decisions for a long time to come.

Comments

Great response Telegram

The Edgecombe County Commissioners did what needed to be done.

I am trying to figure out how Viola Harris was singled out as if it she was the only one thinking in the best interest of the county. I know she made the motion but if you look at the video I commend Chairman Leonard Wiggins for keeping the discussion on track and what the meeting was really for.

Thank you Commissioners you had a decision to make and for me it was a no brainer!

Video/Photos: Edgecombe County Commissioners Passes Budget 4-3 Down Racial Lines Voting For A 3.5% Tax Increase And No Reduction In Force

Curmilus wrote:The Edgecombe

Curmilus wrote:

The Edgecombe County Commissioners did what needed to be done.

I am trying to figure out how Viola Harris was singled out as if it she was the only one thinking in the best interest of the county. I know she made the motion but if you look at the video I commend Chairman Leonard Wiggins for keeping the discussion on track and what the meeting was really for.

Thank you Commissioners you had a decision to make and for me it was a no brainer!

Video/Photos: Edgecombe County Commissioners Passes Budget 4-3 Down Racial Lines Voting For A 3.5% Tax Increase And No Reduction In Force

Say what you want and believe what you want, but the fact remains: those high taxes are destroying the economy of that county.

Viola Harris

She actually said today on a FB chat board that if we didnt like it we could move. She must go now ! How dare she say that.

Damn here we go with a half-truth

She said if you are not happy you are free to move. Free to move! If it had been me I would not have said it so nicely, I would have said if you are not happy then leave or get the hell out of dodge. I wouldn't care if I was holding a title. I would not allow anyone to attempt to mislead folks because if you are going to quote folks, quote the whole thing.

I visited the Tarboro 27886 page after being informed to go there and I read it for myself. And since there were so many ignant comments the original author of the posts removed it.

But that would not accomplish your mission and that is to attempt to discredit folks with half-truths and/or twisting the truth.

Telegram does a disservice to its Readers

Your editorial is actually a disservice to your readers especially hardpressed citizens of Edgecombe County. You fail to mention that Edgecombe County now has the distinction of having the 3rd highest property tax rate in NC. Would you come here? You fail to mention that we have one of the highest poverty rates in the state. The very ones that live in poverty and own even a little property will have to give up more. You fail to mention that we are always within the top 2 or 3 in uememployment (they have to pay too if they own property) and now we are being asked to give just a "little more". Sound familar? Perhaps the Telegram would have been more faithful to its Edgecombe readers by taking our Commissioners to task for not having a plan to address our revenue shortfall. Maybe you should have enlightened your readers that the ECPS positions that "could" have been eliminated were not classroom positions. Perhaps you should have taken ECPS to task for losing students and the funding that goes along with them. Selective reporting at its best. Perhaps the Telegram would be better served to ask our Commissioners how they plan to deal with next year's revenue shortfall. The choice to raise taxes was easy but what happens when the revenue source dries up? Please talk about that. Finally, please don't insult our intelligence that the Commissioners listen to the voice of their constituents. Remember the renovation of the Embarq building that the majority of residents (employees too) spoke out against but now we are saddled with a nice pretty building and plenty of debt. No, there was only one individual that changed their mind. That doesn't sound like listening to me.

Edgecombe County needs a new manager !

I can not believe Edgecombe County is raising taxes and they are already too high. You wonder why there are no jobs here and why people are moving it is because of high taxes. I think Edgecombe needs to seek better management then what they have in office. I have been living here for over 20 years and now I am thinking about moving.

POOR CHOICES

Raising taxes in Edgecombe County is like pouring gas on a fire and expecting it to go out. The answer is cutting the budget, subsidizing development with limited tax incentives, and building a tax base with new development that will allow for increased revenue without raising taxes. Edgecombe Taxes are already too high and tax values are disproportionately higher than any county around them. Edgecombe county has poor leadership with poor choices being made. It's time to stop siphoning money away from those who are in a position to improve the economy and giving it to those who are sucking it dry. The County cannot afford to provide Cadillac services with a Yugo economy.

Tax increases won't bring more jobs

I agree that Edgecombe Co. and Eastern NC need jobs and a jolt to the tax base but the likely hood of one or both happening with tax rates increased is virtually zero.

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