UPDATE-We received an email also from First District Commissioner Bev Thomas. Her email has been added to this story as of 3:30pm Tuesday.
KRMS News has obtained a letter from Second District Camden County Commissioner Cliff Luber talking about the county budget once again. The letter he has written is below:
I have expressed concerns about Camden County’s fiscal future for the last three years. I have counseled restraint and very careful spending. I have been largely ignored. Now the county is in real financial trouble.
For the last year, commissioners Greg Hasty and Beverly Thomas have voted for every spending “bill” to come before the Camden County Commission. My concerns have been routinely ignored while Thomas touted her accounting degree and Hasty referenced his four decades in business. While constantly claiming that my fiscal concerns for the county were exaggerated, Hasty and Thomas have put us in a financial ditch.
County government expenditures will outstrip income by nearly $5 million in 2016.
In the 2016 budget crafted by Hasty and Thomas, serious cuts were made to the road and bridge and sheriff’s departments in lieu of a large, unaffordable pay increase for county employees. When I suggested restraint and smaller raises, I was ignored.
I have repeatedly cautioned the other two commissioners about cutting services to pay for this pay raise. I cautioned that the hard numbers strongly suggested we were looking at millions in revenue shortfall in 2016. The numbers were obvious to anyone who can read a budget. This has been known for several months and is not a new revelation. This is information that Hasty and Thomas have consistently ignored.
I refused to vote for an unaffordable pay raise. I voted no for the 2016 budget and I even refused to sign it after Greg Hasty and Beverly Thomas approved this fiscal disaster. I have been repeatedly ignored.
Now comes the revelation that deficit predictions were low. The certified public accountant that Thomas and Hasty voted to hire says the predicted shortfall is more than the $3 million I estimated. According to the CPA’s numbers the county will fall $4.9 million short in 2016 !
If Greg Hasty would spend less time lying about me and more time reading the budget, the citizens of Camden County would be better served. Government at all levels owes taxpayers budgets that make sense not run up huge deficits. My fellow commissioners are far more worried about re-election and nonsense allegations than serving the people of Camden County.
Your 2nd District Camden
We contacted Hasty about the allegations and his audio interview is below.
The following is an email we received from Thomas concerning Luber’s allegations.
To begin, Mr. [Matthew] Dorf’s assessment of the County’s financial situation is strictly preliminary. His comment was that he did not have all of the numbers yet and the papers he gave the Commission was a very preliminary review. Also those numbers were based on the premise that every penny of every budget was spent every year and that is not the way it is done.
To respond to the accusations against the Commission; 1.) The County is not in a financial ditch. Let me give you the financial facts, to begin with, a budget is a best guess of what will happen in the future. Cash balances on hand are the actual facts. Going back to Dec. 2010 Cash on hand = $9,475.818.49, Dec. 2011 = $9,563,736.01, Dec. 2012 = $10,668,681.03, Dec. 2013 = $10,841,216.28, Dec 2014 =
$9,725,825.22, Dec. 2015 = $10,715,009.60. Showing that County finances are stable, with slight increases and decreases as is normal. These figures can be verified by the financial statements that are printed in the paper annually. In addition, sales tax for 2015 ended with an increase of 3.8+% which = $394,198.00 and with an additional 3.7+% so far in 2016 = $79,770. Plus an increase of 28% in Use tax 2016 over 2015.
To repeat an earlier statement, NO services have been cut, and there are no plans nor intentions to cut ANY existing services. We do not plan to add any new services for 2016, but that is all. Commissioner Luber was unavailable for the budget meetings held with the Elected Officials and the Department Heads (except one) while the budget was being developed.
I think the numbers speak for themselves.
We tried to contact Camden County Treasurer Elaine Gilley, but she was unavailable as of press time.