There’s something for everyone to like in the recently approved strategic plan adopted by county commissioners.
For conservatives, there’s a plan for future spending that will allow the county to anticipate and plan for expenditures in a way that will relieve the pressure and the temptation to simply raise taxes to pay for new projects.
For progressives, there’s a plan to do that, if the county follows through, allows the county to maintain its facilities and its focus on the areas county leaders really believe are the most important areas of need in our county.
The plan takes a holistic approach to managing county government, considers the needs across a wide swath of services and takes a practical approach to accomplishing those tasks.
County leaders have historically been opposed to increasing taxes to pay for new facilities or services. There’s a certain nobility in that idea. No one wants to pay more in taxes. But there’s also a fiduciary responsibility to maintain the quality of buildings and services well enough to make them worth the investment the county already has in them. It’s like making sure you change the oil regularly in that new car you just bought.
Some have argued that other programs and services should be cut to create available revenue to maintain or improve other programs. With just a few exceptions, there hasn’t been a real stomach for making those cuts and the county has basically been forced to tread water.
With their new strategic plan, commissioners can now review a host of oft-delayed projects, establish a long-term plan for paying for them and manage other needs and resources at the same time.
What’s critical in all this, however, is that the plan needs to be actively used and referred to by county leaders on a regular basis. There’s a frustration among elected leaders across the country that plans are written and approved, then sit on a shelf somewhere and collect dust, never to be used again. County commissioners should not let that happen, under any circumstances.