To the Editor:
Town of Marion spending is uncontrolled.
The town of Marion has an addiction to unfettered spending. It has become addicted to “free cash” spending and, as a result, many expenses that should be planned and budgeted for inside the town’s operating budget get paid for with “free cash.”
What is Free Cash? It is money left over when the town spends less for something than the money that was approved. As an example, in this week’s warrant a free cash request for $54,000 was for a new vehicle. Such a round number – why? The answer is either the department manager responsible was simply too lazy to correctly research the need OR it was written with the intention to ask for too much – leaving some “extra” for the next year.
The damage caused by this undisciplined behavior comes with the loss of understanding of the value of money and the tax rates that react to such casual spending. The spiral continues as a town with 2400 homes ends up with dozens of “free cash” spending requests on a town warrant that drives meetings that last until nearly midnight. Hey folks – we just ain’t that big a town…
This behavior needs to stop!
1) Most of the “free cash” requests belong inside the town budget – these are not “extra” and “unplanned” needs. It’s way past time for Marion department managers to do a better job and budget for these – just like nearly every family in Marion plans for their own needs and expenses.
2) When a “free cash” request is made, it should be accompanied with no less than three bids, with the free cash request for the lowest bid. Simple enough. Basically, if you can’t research your need beyond round numbers, don’t ask for money.
Regardless if you agree with me or not, the reality is the town of Marion is spending far more $$$ every year than they should. The result is higher and higher taxes. It’s way past time for the town to stay within its means.
The Finance Committee has done a fabulous job balancing the real and unqualified spending needs; they have also done a great job managing our growing indebtedness (currently about $30 million). But they need the help of its citizens to curtail sloppy spending so that we can direct more to paying the bills we have already.
Chris Collings, Marion
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