To the Editor,
A year ago I penned a letter commending the Robeson County government on its excellent credit rating but also warning of upcoming financial storms. County Manager Ricky Harris and finance Director Kelli Blue should be commended on a job well done as they manage our county finances. However, the lack of a short- and long-term economic growth and development plan will eventually threaten our county’s budget process.
As the red flags in the budget wave, is our administration ready to make changes necessary to help our area grow and prosper? My personal opinion is that the image of corruption will continue to plague our elected officials, city and county, if the discretionary funds are still in place. Every dollar spent should be a line item, transparent and worth the time and effort to put in the budget.
It is also clear by the performance of our schools that 25 percent of our budget should not be put in reserve for a rainy day. Our rainy day is here. Without an investment in education, economic growth will not occur. Our leader should demand more funding per students. New schools are not necessary, just investment in a well-trained staff, enhanced technology and a positive environment. Staff development monies should not be spent to reward support staff but to train and develop educators on the front lines. School board members should remember that they are elected to plan short term and long term, not micromanage. Our elected commissions and boards should also remember that no individual member has power, the only power is as a group.
Basic economics teaches us that an increase in taxes reduces the amount of private investment. Approximately 95 percent of our job growth has come from small business. The burden on these business cannot continue to increase. The time has come to make changes to the way we conduct our government duties. Let’s identify our weakness, aggressively work on a plan for change and build a spirit of teamwork. Politicians cannot make the changes needed, it has be citizens eager to build a stronger, open community. Our children, of whom 47 percent live in deep poverty, and our less fortunate deserve a better life and opportunity to excel.