Two weeks ago, I wrote about the new county administrator’s contract and also compared our county’s spending on administrative functions to other counties. Mr. Parrish and Mr. Lesinski responded at last week’s board meeting and Mr. Lesinski also had a letter to the editor published in last week’s Rapp News. I want to thank Mr. Lesinski and Mr. Parrish for making my point regarding our county’s high per capita spending.
Both recited that the King and Queen County’s administrator makes over $240,000 annually, but that is an apples to oranges comparison to Mr. Curry’s $135,000 contract. King and Queen County has a combined county administrator, county attorney, and zoning administrator. In fact, the King and Queen County budget allocates $91,160, $95,400, and $54,940 to their county administrator, county attorney, and zoning administrator functions respectfully.
An apples to apples comparison of the same administrative functions reveals that our board has authorized a full time county administrator at $135,000, a county attorney at $45,000, and a full time zoning administrator at $55,000, totaling $235,000. However, in addition our county now has a full time “human resource director” at $60,000 and a part time deputy county attorney at $150 per hour, bringing the total to over $295,000, more than 22 percent higher for just those functions. What is so different in Rappahannock that our county needs more staff to provide similar services?
The bottom line is still the same: King and Queen County, with 95 percent of our county’s population, operates with 56 percent of our total administrative budget. Similarly, Madison County with almost double (177 percent) of our county’s population operates with 82 percent of our administrative budget, and Richmond County with 121 percent of our county’s population operates with 48 percent of our administrative budget. Many other counties are able to operate while spending far less on administrative functions than our county. Our board should be seeking ideas to save tax dollars rather than just throwing taxpayer money at problems. That is why I question their management and business skills.
I’d also want to thank Mr. Lesinski for mentioning RCCE, Rappahannock Citizens for Community Empowerment. RCCE is a small non-partisan 501C focused on improving local government through citizen involvement. Mr. Lesinski’s attack demonstrates why we need to protect our members and contributors from the vindictive tendencies of some in our county government. Contact me if you’d like to learn more.
In regards to Mr. Lesinski’s other comments, I will NOT apologize for pointing out inconvenient facts or asking challenging questions. I will NOT be intimidated by name calling. My motivation is to insure our precious tax dollars are spent wisely in order to preserve our rare and beautiful Rappahannock County. Despite Mr. Lesinski’s and Mr. Parrish’s proclamations, it is obvious to those that understand the numbers — that our taxes are going to have to increase. It is just a question of how much. That is why I am deeply concerned about the financial implications on the growing number of citizens on fixed incomes.
I truly wish we could have an open and fact-based discussion of the challenges that face the county. I am willing to share my research and analysis with anyone interested, and I encourage people to do their own research and check my numbers.
I look forward to the coming year with Ms. Smith on the board and Mr. Curry as county administrator. I foresee positive change.
I’d also like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.