Address Buckingham's Existing Debt

Published 2:27 pm Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Editor, The Herald:

I want to also thank you, sir, for your response to my June 13, 2014 Letter to The Editor, entitled: Buckingham Needs Fiscal Discipline. I also want to thank our Buckingham Leadership for the work they are performing on our behalf. I can imagine that it is hard work and difficult to please everyone in Buckingham County. In my Letter to The Editor I tried to explain the reasons the proposed new library is a bad idea. Although I do not have vast experience, as you do, with County budgets, I do have experience with my own budget. I know, for instance, what my income is and what my expenses are. I also know what I need in order to live comfortably (food, energy, housing, medical etc.). With my finite income, I use that income first to pay my current expenses. If I have any funds left over, I pay down any debt that I have. If further funds are left I put some in savings and then perhaps treat myself to a evening out, newer car, vacation or whatever. But the important point is that I use the income available to first pay my obligations and put money in reserve (savings), before I take on new expense. If, as you say, it doesn’t matter that the new library is built or not built Buckingham residents would still be paying the same tax rate, then I say use the money in the budget to pay down the debt and/or set up a contingency fund for future necessary projects—rather than on the operations of a new library. Additionally, funding for a new library is not magically going to appear. Someone or some entity is going to have to come up with the funds to build it. If the money has already been laid aside in the budget from tax recipients, then use that money to pay down the existing debt or put in a reserve account. A rainy day account if you will. That would put us in a much sounder financial position should the economy take a turn for the worse.

I read in one of your Letters to The Editor submissions, if my memory serves me correctly, the amount of debt we have in Buckingham County is about $9,000 for each resident. Shall we continue to pile on more debt or should we buy down the debt we already have? A bigger, better, newer library would be nice. But bigger, better or newer is not necessary the best for Buckingham County residents. I believe, drawing down the existing debt and/or keeping a rainy day fund would be a much wiser use of the tax revenues given the direction our economy is headed.

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This is not a difficult concept to understand. Where the difficulty lies is having the character, fortitude, and discipline to stand by the concept. The leaders of too many municipalities, remember Detroit, have not had these attributes, and now look where they ended up. It would be a sad day, if sometime in the future, our Buckingham leaders had to tell us, sorry, we should not have taken on additional debt and expenses, so we will have to raise your taxes and fees again.

We all know, or should know, that the debtor is a slave to the lender. In the land of the free we should not involuntarily have to become the slave.

Charles Fernandez

Buckingham County