It happens every budget year.
Members of Horry County Council are told it’s a dire budget year. They hear gloom and doom predictions that revenues will fall far short of expenses.
Sweeping cuts are ordered.
Then, magically, the county’s budget writers “find” unexpected revenues toward the end of the budget cycle. This year, it’s $9.8 million in unassigned budget money.
Predictably, county leaders are already looking for a way to spend it. Salary increases for county employees seems to be the frontrunner.
Here’s a suggestion. Why not take the $9.8 million in taxpayer money and reinvest it into back into the community that paid it?
Ever since 2007, when the Chronicle first began publishing, the county has told us repeatedly it doesn’t have the money to fully widen Carolina Forest Boulevard. Nor does it seem to have the cash to extend Postal Way to Tanger Outlets.
Both could easily be paid for with the $9.8 million with extra cash to spare.
Of more immediate concern is the Carolina Forest library. Although the building itself is set to open in early 2012, there’s no money to hire any employees, meaning the building will likely remain vacant until at least July 1, the deadline for approving the 2012-2013 budget.
Why build a library if you’re not going to ensure it’s staffed?
My hope is that when the county gets a windfall, they remove politics from the discussion and do what’s best for the community.