Why is Macon County Financially Broke
“The problem is not that people are taxed too little,” Ronald Reagan continued, “the problem is that government spends too much.”
Most importantly, Macon County is on financially weak ground because of the lack of businesses finding our county suitable and viable for their location and the lack of good stewardship of our tax dollars. It is easier for the commission and elected officials to say "We need, we need, and therefore we shall take," in lieu of making the tough and correct choices.
The Macon County Commission, The Tuskegee News March 19, 2015, has agreed to ask our state legislators, Senator Billy Beasley and Representative Warren, for more - as upwards to a million/year - in tax revenue per year.
Considering major international businesses are readily located and contributing to the local economy in our neighboring counties so why not Macon County? The Macon County Economic Development Board is doing a good job in attracting businesses to Tuskegee. However, I cant help but wonder if our heavily littered streets have an impact on business owners not wanting their family members and themselves driving our filthy streets to and from work and school.
The closure of VictoryLand and loss of over 2,000 local jobs was a major blow to our economy, schools, and charties. However, we are still paying taxes, a business license fee schedule put on the books a couple of years back is pulling in all sorts of cash, and the state has cost shared upwards to 80% for most of the extensive road and bridge repairs, so then why do we always hear and see evidence of Macon County being financially stressed?
There are several reasons contributing to lack of adequate money to do what is necessary for our children and community. As my research expands I will place my narratives below. Therefore, this page is an on-going project to demonstrate just how our tax dollars are being used for the biggest bang, if it exists.
- Macon County School Board elected members have spent $57,000 visiting 44 cities in 27 months for school board conventions including $330 night stays.
- September 2015, five months after the county tried to get a 5 cent/gallon fuel tax, a rental tax, and strengthening the county wide occupational tax the commission unanamiously approved to pay the now retired Revenue Commissioner a higher monthly retirement than prescribed by law and his health insurance as if he was still a county employee. So folks, we are paying health insurance premiums for two revenue commissioners. I ask you, how many of the sheriff department, revenue office, or employees in the courthouse will get such a "gold watch" of "political favor" when retiring? With favors like this it is no wonder the commission didnt want our vote on the fuel tax!
- Macon County Commissioners and county engineer attending to the annual Association of County Commissioners of Alabama (ACCA) convention at Orange Beach. Do know their ACCA, not unlike a union or employee represenative organization, represents their members NOT the interestes of the constitutents.
- County cars and pickup trucks are driven to and from work rather than privately owned vehicles.
- Macon County Commission $11,982.00 annual association dues for 2014, include
- Association of County Commissioners of Alabama - $5,774.00
- National Assocaiton of Counties - $450.00
- South Central Alabama - $4,055.00
- Alabama Probate Judges' Association - $750.00
- Association of County Engineers of Alabama - $375.00
- International Association of Administrative Proessionals - a Worldwide association for administrative support staff - $178.00
- Taxpayers fund party primaries - and political parties dont even say "thank you."
- June 2014 Macon County primary election cost the county $32,256.87 after being reimbursed $37,984.00 by the state on our $70,240.87 required expenditures. Little known fact - to be even considered worthy of being on a republican or democrat primary the application process requires a registration fee to the party - not the state. For example $2,398.97 was required for all democrat Circuit Court Judge applicants in 2014 as part of their application process for the democrat primary. Furthermore, all democrat applicants for District Court Judge and House of Representative had to pony up to the democrat party $2,378.97 and $1,100.92 respectively. I understand, yet have not been able to verify, to be worthy of being a republican candidate the application fee is 2% of the annual salary - again to the party, not the state. So it is a pretty good business to be a policital party - the parties get money from all aspiring candidates, citizens pay for the printing of ballots (republican $11,448.00 and democrat $12,578.42), required advertising in the local paper ($20,436.80), poll worker wages ($11,150.00), salary for the Absentee Election Manager ($5,750.00), and ballot reprinting of ($4,000.00), and the state (not the parties) reimbursed Macon County the $37,984.00, thereby county tax payers eating $32K.
- July 15, 2014 party run-off primary election cost the county yet another $18038.46 after being reimbursed $35,986.46 of our mandatory funding of a primary election. Collectively, the two primary elections cost Macon County $50,295.33 which should have been paid by the parties collecting all of the un-obligated registration fees.
- State reimbursement to the county for the 4Nov2014 general election as it should be, as compared to the primaries. Our total expenses for this election was $39,214.56 and the state reimbursed the county $23,069.78.
- Macon County School Board annual association dues
- Alabama Association of School Board Legal Assistance Fund - $6,258.00
- School Superintendents of Alabama for 10 persons. I thought we had one Macon County School Superintendent. $5,614.70