Don’t Count Your Chickens

chickens-before-they-hatchThis unfortunately is the message I walked away with, from the May 13, 2013 work session meeting, when Business Manager Daniel Carsley gave his budget presentation. While he hopes to have an updated millage by next week’s regular meeting, it could be until the June work session before we know if a zero increase will happen for Chester County homeowners.

Mr Carsley stated that they were still working the numbers. It was really unclear what glitch in the numbers exist. Is it that the proposed cuts don’t provide the stated saving presented last month? Are they working alternatives so that building budgets don’t get an additional cut? Was it all a dog and pony show to say they tried to get to zero… did their best …but something north of zero was all they could do? We’ll have to see when the final budget comes out.

I was tempted, during visitors comments, to once again sit in front of the board, and demand zero. It should not be a issue of IF. It needs to be an issue of HOW. However, after a while, one starts beating a dead horse. Some of these board members are the same ones who voted to move forward on the High School renovation and expansion project during the foreclosure crisis, and while the world’s financial markets were actively collapsing.

Lisa Bowman (President) tried to reinforce the idea the board’s goal is always to get the increase to zero, and they are trying. I don’t really believe too many people are buying that line these days, even in the hearts of board apologists who would deny they have doubts about the sincerity.  However, getting to zero this year is not about cuts. It is about how much fund money they want to use.

As I already stated, a budget passed with a zero tax increase for Chester County is only a minor victory. It will be paid for by moving $1 Million from a fund. That $1 Million in spending will still be in the budget, and at least an addition $1.4 Million will be added to next year’s budget.

This $2.4 Million in spending could mean a tax increase of 3.69 mills for 2014-15, increasing our school taxes from 36.66 mills to 40.35 mills.

This year’s budget is just kicking the can.

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