Sunday, January 30, 2011

That's Why They Call it a BUDGET, Jim!

At this past Monday's meeting of the school board's Financed Committee, the topic was "Initial Budget Parameters".  One of the key budget parameters is "mill rate increase".
" There's no way an increase to tax levy less than 4.5 percent would be able to support the budget." 
---School Board member Jim McCourt (as reported by the STAR)
Unfortunately, it was two of the three school board candidates (new-comer Tom Weber and incumbent Jill Camber-Davidson) that wanted to talk about setting a target ceiling on any mill rate increase.
I’d like to throw out that we put a number out there.... It’s not that it can’t be changed, but I think it’s a starting point for the budgets
--- (school board candidate) Tom Weber
Finance Committee chair Jim "SeaBass" McCourt was hesitant (to put it mildly) to set any limit.  In fact, the only way he was interested in setting any "parameter" on an acceptable mill rate increase was as a very loose "limit".

On the parameter affecting the local levy and mill rate, the committee approved on a 3-2 vote (Seabass, Diedrich, Rayford) putting a 4.5 percent increase as a current target to aim for while the budget process continues. Committee members Weber and Jill Camber Davidson voted against it because they thought the target percentage should have been lowered to 3 percent. 
 ----Sun Prairie STAR

Caren Diedrich added her typical zany antics to the meeting.  When it came time to vote on the issue of setting a 4.5% "soft target" for any mill rate increase, Diedrich commented, 

"Well, I'd like it to be less [than 4.5%] ...but I'm voting yes".
         -----Caren Diedrich (who could have voted no and forced a smaller target levy increase)

According to the current budget projections and forecast model, the proposed increase to the tax levy and mill rate would be 5.1 percent. And that is not factoring in any major hit to school funding that might come from the Governor.

Memo to Jim McCourt:
budget - a summary of intended expenditures along with proposals for how to meet them.

Jimbo...It's called a budget because you figure out what you can afford.  THEN you figure out how you plan to spend the money available.  WE --the people--- a at least 50% of your budget, Jim.  And you need to take the ability of the people to pay your taxes into account.  We all don't live in the lap of luxury.  We all can't afford to dine on sea bass.

Earth to McCourt!  If there's "no way" to support a mill rate less than 4.5%, then that means you need to get the big boy scissors out and start cutting that budget!