Here straight from county records are some of the annual costs borne by taxpayers for our current county commissioners: Salaries ($262,849); Social Security & Medicare Taxes ($20,108); County’s share of Health Insurance Premiums ($36,379); Life Insurance ($164) Workman’s Compensation ($3,910); Pension costs ($18,583); Travel Expenses ($4,200); Automobile Expenses ($15,555); Office Expenses ($10,780) – TOTAL $372,528. There are of course numerous other direct and indirect expenses such as liability insurance, utility bills, telephones (or whatever is used in lieu thereof).
Some expenses and costs are unnecessary. Next year “they” intend to refuse $39,000 of Title X funds (Family Planning) which the County has received for 30 or more years. This grant was accepted this year most reluctantly by a 3 to 2 decision in the face of an overwhelming mandate at a public meeting, with the deciding vote cast accompanied by the comment “I sold my soul.” Guess what! You the taxpayer most likely will get to replace this Federal money next year when they refuse it on their moral grounds. (By inference, one must conclude that commissioners in the previous 30 years were morally corrupt).
Now “they” want to revisit the decision making process about the expansion and safety at the airport. The laborious and conscientious decision of the previous commissioners, made after years of studies and hearings, does not please the few jet set friends of the present BOCC. Trying to obtain the exact cost for environmental and engineering studies utilized and authorized by previous Boards is hard to come by but it’s generally agreed to be between $200,000 to $300,000 – all to now be flushed down the drain. It’s highly doubtful the bankrupt Federal government will continue to finance further delays and changes. The truth is that Ravalli taxpayers don’t need further unnecessary costs.
Some want to downsize the BOCC back to 3 commissioners. Let’s do better. Let’s hire a competent well-compensated manager and elect 7 or 9 citizen advisors with a $100 a week stipend for a once a week consultation with the manager. “A benevolent dictatorship is the best form of government.”