The notion of cutting taxes and adding services — especially in the throes of a pandemic — would come across to most people as laughable. After all, with all the lost revenue due to COVID-19 and three devastating tornadoes in April in Jones County, how could taxes actually be going down?
Yet it is true. The Jones County Board of Supervisors at their Monday morning delivered news that should tickle the cockles of everyone’s heart — and reaffirm that the decisions made in the last election were prudent.
The most telling example came from Sheriff Joe Berlin, who will be adding road deputies and begin to acquire a new fleet of vehicles for the sheriff’s department without increasing the department budget. How is that possible? For the last two years, we heard the former sheriff pitching a more than $3 million increase for his department, a move that would have meant a massive tax increase for the residents of Jones County.
Grant-writer extraordinaire Lance Chancellor deserves plenty of credit for securing grants to aid in outfitting deputies with safety equipment and securing overtime pay to allow for more patrols at little or no cost to the taxpayers.
And let us not forget that there are three new supervisors on the board who were elected on pledges to be good stewards of the people’s money. So far, they have shown that more can be done with less and that by working together, even in the toughest times, austerity can work for all.
We would be remiss if we didn’t give ourselves a little pat on the back, too, for exposing the tax-and-spenders by doing nothing more than reporting their true intentions. The actions of the Board of Supervisors highlights once again the need for a local community watchdog to keep those in charge of the checkbook in place.
In September, the budget will be adopted. The gauntlet has been laid, however, and these public officials will realize that the measures they have taken will need to be continued. Residents like tax cuts, especially around here. If those in office decide to go off the rails and push for massive increases, their political fate likely will end up in the same trash heap as those who came before them.
We won’t solicit the board to take a bow, but they certainly deserve to be acknowledged for the steps they have taken to not further handcuff the local population suffering still in so many ways.