Good Morning. I am John Lowry, candidate for Board of Supervisors, Samuel Miller District on November 7th. It has been really pleasant to be on the campaign trail since February of this year. Knocking on doors is an uplifting experience – people are so friendly. To be reported on and examined by the press/media has also been a happy experience. Accuracy and fairness is alive and well in our system of free speech.
In the spirit of openness I call attention to all yesterday’s revelation of Fiscal ’17 results by the County Director of Finance. For the year ended June 30th, the County again ended the year in a large surplus fund balance. This year the surplus in the General Fund was $7.75MM. It was referred to yesterday over and over as a “positive variance”. Furthermore the Un-appropriated General Fund Balance was a whopping $14MM. Supervisors will hear more about that next week. But by year’s end, Supervisors will need to decide what to do about the large fund balance.
Last year, remember it was big news the county had an $8 1/2MM surplus.
We have had multi-million dollar surpluses for three years in a row. During the last four years the BOS increased taxes between rate increases and assessments by 25% on average. They also have doubled the debt of the county in the last four years. This makes me ask, why? Why did they not know there would be multi-million dollar surpluses in each of these years? Why did they not propose giving a portion of the surplus back to taxpayers? Why did they borrow so much in debt when there were surpluses each year?
If only the general government fund surplus of $7 ¾ MM for the year ended June 30th was returned to taxpayers it would amount to 5 cents off the 83.9 cent rate being collected. For most homeowners this would be several hundred dollars less paid in taxes.
Now we are into 2018 year with both the last 2 cent increase and a 2.9% increase in assessments beginning this tax year. Do the Supervisors not see it will happen again this year?
Words need to be said about expenses. Two years ago the BOS assembled a Blue Ribbon group to suggest to the Board how to raise revenues. In its report to the Board the spokesman for the group said in fairness that the Supervisors should also look at ways to trim expenses. In fact, in the last four years there has not been one agenda item on all the Board agendas about how expenses could be less.
I will open this up for questions now but I want to say I look forward to stepping in, ready to serve in January. I can better serve the interests of the voters of Samuel Miller district by better managing the county finances. Thank you.