First Posted: 6/11/2009
Tight economic times call for tough decisions, and that is what the Surry County Board of Commissioners faced Wednesday night during a budget work session.
County Emergency Services Director John Shelton had submitted a budget request for several replacement vehicles, as had several other agencies.
There is no doubt the vehicles are needed to replace older models, some with 200,000 miles on them. Yet, the county simply cannot afford them without cutting more spending or raising taxes. Its hard to say no to EMS services, because if there are two functions that are absolutely vital to being adequately funded, its EMS and law enforcement.
Yet, its also important for the folks who work in these agencies to realize taxpayers just cannot afford a tax hike, and the commissioners are already cutting spending wherever they can. Other departments, including the sheriffs office, have cut their own requests to keep spending at zero growth.
After considerable discussion Wednesday, the three members of the board at the meeting Paul Johnson, Jim Harrell Jr. and Bill Hamlin opted to recommend the full board vote to eliminate some of the EMS requests to keep spending down, while replacing some of the requested vehicles.
This was probably a wise and, under the present economic circumstances, the best decision possible. We hope the full board follows with a similar vote when the final budget comes for a vote.