Tuesday, July 14, 2009

See how this works?

One reason I think Atlanta residents rather begrudgingly accepted a tax increase is because we knew that the alternative was a round of massive cuts. After the first round of cuts left fire stations closed and reduced the number of police officers on duty, citizens weren't interested in seeing what would happen next time.

Gwinnett citizens, on the other hand, practically rebelled when their government suggested increasing taxes. So, and I'm sure readers of this blog will find it a big surprise, Gwinnett is proposing a series of massive budget cuts:
All told, the proposal, leaked in a memo over the weekend, calls for $225 million in cuts through 2014. It recommends eliminating up to 250 current jobs this year — including 53 police positions — and decreasing benefits to remaining employees....

Major capital projects scheduled over the next four years would be deferred. These include: seven fire and EMS stations; two police precincts and at least five parks. It also includes elimination of funding to operate the new $7.4 million Hamilton Mill Library, which is scheduled for completion early next year.
Pretty much the same stuff Atlanta ended up cutting - police and fire stations, parks, and (perhaps most importantly) police officers. I wouldn't call the cuts catastrophic or anything, though. Perhaps, "painful" is appropriate.

I don't pretend to understand the suburban mindset, and I think it is quite possible that folks there will react basically the same as folks in Atlanta did. Perhaps Gwinnett citizens will just say to themselves, "well, it was either this or a tax increase, so I guess this was the better option." Ordinarily folks don't like it when you cut police and other emerency personnell, but these cuts don't strike me as being enough to really piss off Gwinnett citizens, at least not on par with their reaction to a tax increase.

You can find more about the budget cuts on the Gwinnett County website, including a PDF summary of the cuts.

1 comment:

  1. I was at the Town Hall Meeting organized for Gwinnett County. In general, residents are against the proposed increases because property owners have been paying taxes far above what their homes are worth. We heard from residents were pushed to the point of having to choose between filling up their cars with gas or buying food. Others spoke about neighbors not paying their HOA fees or ending up in foreclosure. Although the reasons for these, I'm sure, are many the general consensus I got was that increased taxes were hard to accept when the county witnessed proposals to add new parks, additional law enforcement not at the request of city mayors and the building of a baseball stadium.

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