Irresponsible ‘no’

Published 10:47 am Saturday, July 10, 2010

None of us really want to pay higher taxes or more for services.

Most people have said at some point they wish elected officials would stop increasing the amount of money coming out of the pockets of hardworking citizens.

There are many times when elected officials can and should do exactly that.

There are times, however, when a vote against passing on increases – especially for consumer based products – is wholly irresponsible on the part of an elected official.

It’s admirable that someone who is elected would not want to pass on expenses, even to a small group of people. It is reckless, however, when the result of a nay vote is that everyone would be paying for what one group is consuming.

Wednesday morning, the Northampton County Commissioners were informed that two towns from which they purchase water and/or sewer treatment, had raised their rates. Public Works Director Billy Martin suggested the board’s only option was to pass the increase on to the people whose water and sewer is handled through those towns.

It stinks that someone – no matter who it was – dropped the ball about notification of the increases. Customers should have had a greater opportunity to prepare rather than the rates being passed on effective immediately.

Unfortunately, because of the circumstances, the only other option was to have the taxpayers in the county subsidize the water and sewer usage of a small number of citizens. That would have been even less fair.

Commissioner Chester Deloatch often campaigns for the poor people of Northampton County, but on Wednesday he missed the mark when he voted not to pass on those increases. His vote, had he been in the majority, would have had the opposite effect of its intention. The working poor in Northampton County would have been asked to pay even more to cover the costs of water and sewer they weren’t using.

Sometimes it’s irresponsible to vote against increases and Wednesday was one of those times.