Editorial: A prudent course of action

May 23, 2014 

Garner town council members may have a bad taste in their mouths, but in accepting the idea of a small tax increase, they are making the right decision for the town’s long-term financial health.

Though the council’s approval of tax hike is only tentative now – they could change their minds later – it gives them and the town staff an opportunity to consider more options for meeting the town’s current needs.

The more existing needs the town can meet now, the less likely council members will find themselves facing large dollar needs a few years down the road.

Town leaders have couched any proposed tax increase as a result of increased funding for the fire department.

And while that is certainly a legitimate increase in the town’s spending needs, it’s also true that increasing revenue frees up money to do other things and avoid pushing costs down the road when those costs get more expensive.

No one likes raising taxes. It’s an unfortunate byproduct of the recession. And though we are in a recovery, those improvements have not yet hit the tax rolls. When they do, perhaps, council members may very well be able to hold the tax rate in check.

And, if it makes anyone feel any better about the idea of a tax hike, consider this: most every forward-thinking government in the region is considering a similar move.

That means Garner’s past financial management hasn’t been bad. But the economic circumstances that forced council members to consider an increase are hitting everyone else, too.

Garner’s town council still has work to do on its budget. The final plan hasn’t yet been approved. Council members are working thoughtfully and diligently. Coming to the conclusion that a tax increase this year might be necessary was not an easy, or glib, decision. We hope, though, as they continue their deliberations, they will stick to their decision and ensure that the town will have the resources it needs to operate the town efficiently.

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