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Responsible spending

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In response to your Nov. 24 editorial “Policing the budget,” I’m disappointed that it was filled with such a lack of understanding about local government budget management.

Our board never criticized the Sheriff for “needing the money.” Any comments made were related to a well-founded concern about the sheriff’s budget exceeding expenses the county had budgeted.

We expect every department of Grayson County government to abide by the budget passed. In Grayson County, budgets are firm.

Your assertion that money in the Drug Asset Forfeiture Fund “is for just these kinds of circumstances” is without any basis in fact. These funds are not there to simply cover budget over spending. If we allow funds from the Drug Asset Forfeiture Fund to support an ever-growing operating budget at the sheriff’s office, then who gets to pick up that expense when those funds are depleted? The taxpayers of Grayson County!

You ask, “Why are the supervisors so tight with money that isn’t theirs to begin with?” This money isn’t viewed as “ours,” but does belong to the taxpayers, and it’s the board of supervisors’ responsibility to handle taxpayers’ money carefully.

As you should know, all appropriations for spending in county government must be approved by the supervisors. If no oversight was expected, then those funds would go directly to the sheriff, without any need to have them be appropriated.

The claim that the board was being disrespectful to the office of sheriff because we were questioning him about the use of taxpayers’ money demonstrates an amazing lack of understanding of checks and balances in the spending of taxpayers’ money.

Let’s be clear, this discussion was not about the sheriff, but was about our responsibility to ask questions about the need to spend taxpayer money.

And, your closing comment that, “The transfer of money from this fund should be more of a formality, as it is in other localities,” demonstrates a major difference of opinion between me and The Gazette about the care that should be given to taxpayer money.

For me, decisions on spending taxpayer money will never simply be a “formality.” Too many other elected officials, at all levels of government, take that attitude, and it has not served any of us very well.

This country has several trillion dollars of debt because elected officials handled those spending decisions as “formalities.”

Mike Maynard

Chairman

Grayson Board of Supervisors

Mouth of Wilson