Courier Letters to the Editor 5-17-23

Leveling the playing field

Dear Editor,

I want to comment on the article “County council retains special library millage.”

The county administration recommended the library be taken off its very own millage or tax rate. The council, in a 4-2 vote, ignored that recommendation and chose to keep the library on its own tax rate.

I supported the administration. It is about fairness.  No one is looking to close any library, nor cut hours, nor cut their budget. In fact, their budgeted amount will be the same. This proposal only takes the library off its own tax system, which gives it unfair advantages over the other departments. All need to be on the same system and treated equally.

When you look at your tax bill, you will see different county tax rates. One is county operations at 63.7 mills, another the county library at 5.1 mills. The 63.7 mills raises about $42 million, and it funds most all county departments like the sheriff, solid waste, probate court, personnel and about 25 other departments.

The 5.1 mills raises about $3.5 million, devoted exclusively to the library. The library should not have its own tax rate, when other departments like the sheriff and EMS (public safety) are clearly more important and are lumped in with every other department.

Each department like the sheriff has a budget, which was $15.8 million in 2022. That is the maximum the sheriff receives, not a penny more. With the library having its own tax rate, its revenue grows throughout the year as new cars are tagged and houses are built. The library started 2022 with a budget of $3.7 million, but by year end collected $4 million. Again, why should the library have this advantage when the sheriff and other departments like Veterans Affairs do not?

Having its own tax rate, the library has its own account and its own savings. Its cash balance on June 30, 2022, was $3.6 million. EMS, vehicle maintenance and the auditor are lumped in with every other department. They don’t have their own account. No savings. This is unfair to those employees, who are working just as hard.

The library budget was $3.7 million and it spent $3.6 million in 2022. It got to keep that $100,000, plus the extra $300,000 it collected during the year on the revenue side. That $400,000 was added to their savings, and they can spend it in the future.

The sheriff was budgeted $15.833 million and only spent $15.645 million. Unlike the library, the sheriff’s department can not keep that $188,000 surplus. Like the other departments, it must return it to the general fund, because they have no separate account to keep the surplus and carry it forward to next year. All departments (including the library) need to be on the same system and treated equally.

The library also has its very own capital funds to buy equipment and do building renovations. As a result, it doesn’t have to compete with other departments for limited capital funding. If the library has XYZ project, it just needs to be approved.

Building maintenance, in contrast, is housed in the very old and breaking down Hinkle Jeep building (1971). To get renovations done, building maintenance has to show its need is greater than the needs of the other departments and their $69 million in requests. And then get approval.

All departments need to be on the same, level, government accounting playing field.


Alex Saitta


Hold on to your dreams

Dear Editor,

When it comes to the history of transportation, one of the least talked about is the bicycle.

Karl von Darius is credited with the invention of the first bicycle in 1817. A plank with wooden wheels and no pedals. He called it the Swift Walker. I can imagine how swift with no pedals to stop it was!

In England, the bicycle changed to looking like a huge tricycle, but only one wheel in rear. They called it a penny farthing. It got that name from two English coins, the penny and the farthing, because of the wheels. One huge wheel on the front and one small one on the rear. These bicycles had a short horizontal bar on the rear to put your foot on and lift yourself onto the seat. Once seated, you pedaled quickly or you fell quite a ways to the ground! The pedals were attached to the huge front wheel, and as the wheel turned so did the pedals! No coasting like later models that came with a chain and rear wheel gear.

Remember the Wright Brothers? What was their trade? Bicycle repairmen. How wild is that? You repair bicycles, yet build the first workable airplane! Shows that you never know what you can accomplish if you dream it — it could become reality some day.

Hold on to your dreams, no matter how far away or impossible they may seem. From the dreams of today comes the realities of tomorrow. Follow them, and never, ever give up.


Eddie Boggs