Budget time has come and gone here on County Council and, as that was my first of many serving you, I have to admit it was about as much fun as having a root canal.
However, it is awesome to be a part of it, serving as vice chair of the finance committee and seeing the people's work being done.
The state continues to mandate several expenditures, and the local government fund (LGF) continues to shrink back from the state. This fund is made up of your tax dollars, and what you spend should come back to your locality.
Unfortunately, the majority of your dollars do not make their way back to Beaufort County, and it disturbs me greatly that this continues to happen.
Regarding the state budget inner workings, it is quite likely that you have heard the updates on the gas tax-roads bill's movement. To summarize, the bill was passed by both Houses, then vetoed by the governor, and then overruled by the majority.
Beginning next month, 2 cents will be added to every gallon of gas purchased. Every year, another 2 cents will be added until it reaches 12 cents per gallon six years from now.
As I told a group I spoke with recently, I am not as worried about the actual tax as I am about how the monies are being spent. Granted, I don't like or want any new taxes, but I don't think the majority of us will feel that 2-cents-per-gallon increase.
However, I am concerned and I take great issue with how the SCDOT and the State Infrastructure Bank (SIB) are spending our money. Truly, it is one of the most corrupt systems in America today.
The question remains, are you, the people of Beaufort County, going to permit this to continue or are you going to begin to speak louder and more often to our legislative delegation, insisting that they say what needs to be said, do what needs to be done, and stand up for as long as it takes?
I am going to stand up. I hope you will too. Please join me, as we no longer agree to sit back and watch our tax money being wasted and spent elsewhere in this state.
Michael E. Covert represents District 7 on Beaufort County Council. firstname.lastname@example.org.