Hayden Phillips and Glenn Geissinger, who've been in office a little less than a year, have certainly said enough to concern both taxpayers and the workforce. It appears that both personnel cuts and a tax hike are in the cards. They made these these statements during recent appearances (8/26 and 9/11) on WAEB's Bobby Gunther Walsh show.
Hayden Phillips' Points.
- Refused during his campaign to take a no-tax-hike pledge.
- We are spending $18 million more this year than we are receiving in revenue.
- Our revenue is flat.
- Our reserve is exhausted.
- Reimbursements from the state and federal government are decreasing.
- Personnel costs are rising.
- Seven union contracts are being negotiated.
"You put all that together and I don't see how we can get through without doing some cutting. I'm not an advocate of a tax increase, but I don't see the math right now ... how that could work itself out."
So he is all but predicting a tax hike.
According to Phillips, Executive John Brown has directed that expenses be cut by 10% and has imposed a hiring freeze. Still, "we are in a bad situation."
Phillips stated that Brown is attempted to "make some inroads" in labor negotiations, adding that 43% of the County's spending is on personnel. "I think the big thing is going to be personnel," Phillips predicts about John Brown cuts next year. He adds the County should have suspended open space spending..
So he is predicting bog cuts in personnel.
Essentially, it's the worst of both worlds.
Glenn Geissinger's Points
- We have a $10 million budget shortfall.
- Our reserves have dropped from $48 to $28 and now, to $10 million.
- $12 million in capital improvements are needed at Gracedale.
- Now might be a good time to borrow because money is cheap.
- He agrees that the County needs to reduce sick days and change labor contracts so that the current wage and benefit structure is kept in place or reduced.
- If the County's health benefit plan is a "Cadillac plan," it will pay an excise tax of $9.3 million tax in 2018. By 2023, it will be $60 million. Nobody really knows if the health care plan is a Cadillac plan, although the County's health plan administrator (Blue Cross) says it is.