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Tight finances require tough decisions

Dear Citizen:

The county's new fiscal year began Oct. 1 and reaching agreement on a budget for FY 2012-13 was a tremendous challenge. While this has been said with every budget for the past several years, this one seemed especially difficult, as we continued to balance the services the county provides against revenues that continue to shrink.

The Wayne County Commission and county administration have had to make difficult choices between programs that are worthwhile and services that must be provided as core functions of county government.

While certain financial practices and criminal investigations involving former county appointees help neither the county's budget nor its image, the primary culprit in our budget shortfalls continues to be a crash in tax revenues due to depressed property values.

This tells it all: In 2007, the county took in $380 million from property taxes. This year, it's $270 million. All governments from counties to cities and beyond are being squeezed by the drop in property values.

Sincerely,

Irma Clark-Coleman
Wayne County Commission