Now and later: Local budgets should meld longterm goals, fiscal prudence
Setting up a budget is a difficult business.
There are expenses to manage and interests to consider — not to mention taxes.
So, it is not surprising that creating spending plans for the city and county would take some time.
City and county leaders will be deliberating over the next few meetings over what they are going to do about spending in the coming fiscal year — and figuring out just how much money they will need from local taxpayers to support those efforts.
And, as usual, those who pay taxes will expect them to behave responsibly and to try to keep the costs as low as possible. And, if along the way, they are able to avoid increasing taxes, that would also be a positive.
But as much as we want to pay less rather than more — and as skeptical as we are about any new spending projects proposed by anyone who has the word “politician” as a descriptive adjective in front of his or her name — perhaps now is the time to really think not just about what is necessary, but about what will help build a future.
Most people who live in Goldsboro and Wayne County have an interest in seeing this county grow and prosper. Those who own houses here have property values to consider. Those who are parents or grandparents have families to remember.
And all of us should be thinking about our responsibility to the next generation — just as our parents thought about our futures years ago.
So, what does that have to do with budgets and long-term planning?
To create a viable future for this county, the components for growth have to be in place. That means that spending just enough to make repairs without adding any new features to the community is only putting Wayne County in a holding pattern. And that is not what this county needs to foster residential or business growth — or to compete with its neighbors.
There is an old saying that you have to spend money to make money. In the case of economic development, that is true.
If not this year, then soon, Wayne County residents are going to need to invest in their future. That could mean more roads, better resources for the schools and other features to attract families and businesses to Wayne County.
There are a couple of projects in the works that will be a boost to the county — and there will be a few more that might need to be considered soon. And some of them might require taxpayers to consider investing a little more in their community.
As we examine proposed city and county budgets, we should operate with the future in mind — as well as with fiscal responsibility as our mantra.
Published in Editorials on May 26, 2007 11:05 PM