Wednesday, July 27, 2011

County Commission Throwdown: Bridge-builder

Here's what the board chair battle boils down to: Which commissioner is more amenable to keeping taxes at or below their current rates? The county is facing potential cuts in federal assistance to the poor, thanks to the congressional supercommittee's failures, and that will put an additional squeeze on an already strained county budget. Democrats won't likely be tempted to raise revenue with taxes in an election year, but they'll probably not want to cut them much, either. Republicans want someone with whom they feel they can work on fiscal policy.

In his letter to commissioners, Cogdell said he believed the county tax rate needed a "further downward adjustment." Roberts says her position and Cogdell's are pretty much the same.

Who are Republicans more inclined to believe? Cogdell.

Roberts helped maintain Mecklenburg's fiscal health in the face of a recession by shunning debt and leading the way toward $150 million in spending cuts. But we wish she'd had a firmer grip on the county's wallet long before the economy grew harsh, and some Republican commissioners are skeptical about her willingness to drop taxes enough, if at all.

Also, they don't believe that Roberts is as willing to compromise on fiscal policy. "She puts in her mind a number that she wants," said commissioner Jim Pendergraph, "and there's no changing it."

Cogdell has wisely realized this, promising to give Republicans a greater voice in policy despite their 5-4 minority on the commission. That will be enough for them to cast their support for a new county commission chair next week.

Peter St. Onge


BoBelinski said...

I don't know that seeing an opportunity to stab a colleague in the back, and taking advantage of it, can properly be called "wise" -- opportunistic, cynical, maybe even amoral, yes. But not wise.

razorsedge said...

You are right. Roberts picked a budget number and refused to compromise; thus, what the Observer termed the "affluent communities in north Meck got bilked on their revaluations. Next to Ole Harry, Roberts has to be the most self- serving politician in this part of the country. (And, yes, Ole Harry is a politician. How else could such an arrogant mule's sire keep his job?)
Harold may be no better than Jennifer, but Jennifer has already proven to me that she is out for herself only--regardless of what is best for Meck County. She casts her lot with the demographic segment that is the largest. Let Harold have a chance. He could not possibly be worse.