Gwinnett Chickens Coming Home to Roost

Per Gwinnett Daily Post:

The elimination of emergency medical services and closing of the county prison are possibilities in Gwinnett’s financial crisis.

They were among 152 recommendations in the draft report of the Service-Value-Responsibility study, and could cut as much as $79 million in the county’s budget.

From the cutting of small programs such as the annual lighting of the Christmas tree and Fourth of July celebration and providing lights on Interstate 85 to cutting staff, furloughs and possibly implementing a four-day work week, those recommendations and the county’s finances in a time of tight revenues will be the main topics of discussion during a three-day county government retreat beginning today in Young Harris. …

The cost-cutting recommendations were formulated over the past three months by 70 employees working in nine teams, investigating county spending by functions, such as public safety efficiency, rates and fees, administrative departments review, back office functions such as human resources and purchasing and supplies and inventory.

The goal of the study was to find $35 million in savings in the county’s operating expenses, which was roughly the same amount of spending of the county reserve fund expected in 2008. In 2009, though, that could increase to $43 million, according to a proposed budget released earlier this week.

One measure, the cutting of more than 100 positions in the Planning and Development and Water Resources departments, was announced last month.

But more cuts could include the elimination of funding for the Gwinnett Public Library, community schools, Parternship Gwinnett, the hospital, revitalization efforts and more.

It’s too bad that the needed $35 million is almost exactly what the County will be spending on the new Braves stadium next year.

But don’t worry, the County is hard at work finding new revenue.

Revenues could be found from increasing business license fees, ambulance transport fees and the cost to adopt a pet from the animal shelter. Officials could even consider selling advertisement space on county water towers.

Why not just raise taxes on Tiny Tim? And if the County can’t even sell naming rights to the Braves stadium, then who’s going want to buy the rights to paint over “Gwinnett Is Great” and “Success Lives Here”.

Water Towers

Or maybe the county is hoping for more recycling violations to balance the books (thanks to Frank Stephenson for the pointer).

While neighboring counties encourage recycling, Gwinnett County’s new solid waste management ordinance puts teeth into it. The ordinance provides for a civil fine of $500 for violations, which includes those who fail to “source separate residential recovered materials.”

2 Responses “Gwinnett Chickens Coming Home to Roost”

  1. sabernar says:

    I used to live in Gwinnett County (and still have family there).  The above post sounds about right for them.  It’s sad, but true.  Why allow people to adopt a pet or borrow a book from the library when you can build a multimillion dollar stadium that isn’t needed?

  2. Ken Houghton says:

    $500??!!

    Is it a reasonable defence to say that, if the material was thrown in the trash by accident, it therefore wasn’t “recovered”?

    Looks as if it might be a case where trying to do the right thing is punished more than just saying fuggedaboutit.