The Herald Bulletin

Evening Update

Letters

December 9, 2013

Viewpoint: Criticism of County Council outlandish

The viewpoint of Danny Hayes on the Madison County Council (published Nov. 29) was a continuation of his rant in a letter to the editor on Oct. 19. The words of Ronald Reagan, “there you go again,” come to mind. To imply that the council is undemocratic, deceitful, heavy-handed, illogical, dishonest, etc., is a distortion. Maybe the word “hyperbole” fits here.

His criticism of the budget process is curious. The council scheduled many meetings in October — so many I don’t remember the exact number. I can tell you that I missed two. And, since I was at the rest of the meetings, I can tell you that Mr. Hayes didn’t come close to attending a majority of the sessions. His criticism that the final budget approval was on Halloween night by design so people wouldn’t be at the meeting is such a stretch. The budget needed to be approved by the end of the month and it took all month to get the work completed. Halloween happened to be on the last day of the month.

The budget process is a challenging task. The council has to arrive at a budget for the next year by the end of October. The revenues for the next year don’t arrive on Jan. 1. Income comes in all year from many sources and the exact amounts are not known until the county actually has them in hand. And, the proposed budget has to be approved by a state finance committee. That applies to all local governments.

When council president, John Bostic, advises department heads to reapply for a budget item in the new year, it doesn’t mean he has lost his fiduciary mind. It means that once the council knows exactly what the income is, then budget items can be reconsidered for an increase if needed.

In the third quarter of this year, an independent auditor, Jim Steele, commended the council for their handling of the county finances. Maybe Mr. Hayes missed that meeting. We elected this council to work harmoniously with other county departments (which the previous council did not) and now let us allow the council to do the county’s business. Outlandish statements can only be viewed as political posturing designed to influence future elections.

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