This interesting breakdown of poor fiscal responsibility on the part of our Freeholders was in Ben today. Do you want to know why the county is in such a fiscal mess, with the county portion your property taxes nearly doubling over the last ten years? Read on.
“During the freeholders meeting on Sept. 10, they approved a bond ordinance in the amount of $7,510,700.
“In the paperwork handed out to the audience, it stated how the money is being used, with their estimate of the life of each item. (Ordinance 2900-1)
“There were a number of items that had an estimated life of 5 years.
“The bond will take 15 years to be paid off.
“These items included computer upgrades, 5 vehicles, library computer upgrades and food service items for the dept of corrections.
“These 5-year items totalled just under $500,000.
“If they are paying for trucks, etc., with financing that will take 15 years, how will they pay for the replacement truck, etc., at the 5 year point, and the next truck, etc., at the 10-year point?
“It will take 15 years to pay for an item that can be used only for 5 years.
“It is like taking a 15-year mortgage to purchase a 5-year vehicle.
“Does anyone do this with their personal finances?
“At the end of the 15 years, the county will have paid an estimated additional 38 percent (current rate is 4.67 percent).
“I used 4.5 percent for this calculation for the first truck.
“These $500,000 items will actually cost the county $690,000.
“This is an additional $190,000 because of the interest.
“How do we know what the replacement trucks will cost and how they will plan on purchasing them?
“If we do the same type of loan, we will be paying a tremendous amount of money for short term product for a very, very long time.
“With a director of finance, a treasurer, and a freeholder that is actually in the banking business, it is hard to believe these three people would allow this to happen.
“Short-term purchases should be paid for with current funds.
“For the freeholders to make these purchases from current funds, they would have to raise our taxes.
“Since no citizen wants higher taxes, the easier way for the freehlolders to obtain these items is to bundle them into a bond.
“With the bond issue, the costs will be hidden in the entire bond total.
“This is not open government.
“Just how much do we pay in interest payments each year because our government makes short-term purchases with an instrument that is designed for long-term items?
“This should be addressed by anyone wanting to replace our present freeholders.
“The freeholders also included in this bond ordinance $1,000,000 to build a chapel in the Veterans Cemetery.
“I fully support remembering our fallen soldiers, but does the county have one million dollars to pay for a chapel?
“Perhaps, we are reaching just a little too much with this one.
“After paying the bond, our actual cost will be closer to $1,380,000.
“This is an additional $380,000 for the chapel.
“More people should question this.