Opinions,discussions and common ground on the Democracy of the United States and Macon County "Democracy is the cause of Humanity."--John L. O'Sullivan

Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Government That Works

Not surprisingly, the Herald & Review did not run a story in this morning's edition recounting some of the rather interesting, even startling, information that emerged at last night's meeting of the county board's Finance Committee. Consider the following:

--a resolution authorizing external borrowing was passed and forwarded to the Board but any external borrowing, if it happens, will come several months later than in past years. More importantly, it is possible that the county will not have to borrow externally to cover the annual cash flow crunch.

--it is quite likely that at the May 12 meeting, the Board will accept a new health insurance contract that calls for only a 1 percent increase. This is stunning considering that the Board annually budgets at least 15 percent or more in anticipation of an increase and is delighted if the figure comes in at 12-13 percent. Consider, too, what is happening to the insurance costs of other local government units.

--finally, there is a POSITIVE ending fund balance for the first time since 1999. The $500,000 in the black is still about $1 million short of what the county needs to avoid cash flow problems but is a remarkable achievement considering the tremendous hole in which county government began this decade.

There are plenty of reasons for this good news. First, is the hard work, concentration, cooperation, and public spiritedness of Macon County's elected officeholders of both parties, appointed officials and employees. Without them and their hard work, we wouldn't be looking at this progress. On the health insurance front, Dave Wolfe saw this problem, as did his predecessor John Snyder, and decided to appoint a special committee that would begin work well in advance of the contract's expiration. This committee did its job and is coming in with a fantastic deal. There is a similar committee addressing telecommunications and computer issues, like the insurance committee a bi-partisan effort. Throughout Macon County's struggles there has generally been bi-partisan cooperation on the tough decisions.

To be sure, Macon County is not out of the woods. There are still plenty of opportunities to run off the road and end up back in the ditch. But these developments clearly indicate that the often-denigrated county government works effectively. Amid all the newspaper headlines, quotes and editorials about fusses, feuds, fights, and mistakes, the main business of county government has gone on quietly and effectively. The credit--and thanks--goes to the elected officeholders, appointed officials, and employees who got the job done.

Thanks for listening,