So here we are a week before the special election and the financial train wreck (“Clarksville”) is coming very soon. Now is our chance to get county government back on the right track.
Vote Tom Kovach on January 13 and help derail the Paul Clark Express:
Ron Williams wrote the following in his editorial yesterday:
A scathing minority report from a member of the county executive’s finance transition team says New Castle County government is basically broke.
The opinion was authored by financial services planner and well-known media commentator Dace Blaskovitz.
As a matter of full disclosure, Blaskovitz and I do a monthly political radio commentary on WILM1450/WDOV1410. But this report was born from his service on New Castle County Executive Paul Clark’s Finance Committee transition team. Blaskovitz is also a member of the county’s Pension Board and the Wilmington Economic Financial Advisory Committee, the city’s version of the state’s DEFAC budgetary advisory group.
Blaskovitz was joined in his minority opinion by former state House majority leader Wayne Smith. The other members of the committee are J.J. Davis, former state budget director, now with the University of Delaware; Pete Ross, former state head of the Delaware Compensation Commission; and Jill Floore, finance director for the Red Clay Consolidated School District.
The majority report from the team’s three Democrats, scheduled for release Friday, is expected to call for “revenue enhancements,” also popularly known as tax increases.
Smith is a Republican and Blaskovitz an independent.
Here is Blaskovitz’s opinion from yesterday’s paper where he says:
New Castle County is broke, in my opinion.
NCCo is broke in structure — and moving towards being broke financially.
NCCo government is simply unsustainable, given today’s new economic climate. Therefore, our elected officials should be asked if they endorse the status quo or oppose. Looking forward, will better informed voters choose to continue to reward municipal workers with million-dollar deals (from an actuarial basis)?
Instead, citizens should demand a reduction in head-count. NCCo’s actuary has pension and health care proposals waiting for action. Salaries have to reflect the balance sheet. Perhaps a spending oversight board would assist in fiscal restraint.
Can New Castle County branches or departments be merged or combined with state or Wilmington units? Do these specialty investment firms that advise and/or assist strained municipalities see NCCo assets that can be monetized? What can NCCo outsource to the private sector?
Here is what we should not do. We should not raise taxes, nor raise fees, nor raise service charges. In my opinion, it is unconscionable for “revenue enhancements” to even be mentioned in our report. Other than those motivated by self-interest, who is asking for more-of-the-same?
Like a hefty chunk of the local households who have already done it, New Castle County government needs basic, immediate belt-tightening. More than ever, leadership is needed.