Letters to the editor

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 02:12 PM

Give cooperation a try

An unintentional consequence of comments made at the May 30 Orange County Commissioners’ public hearing on the budget put as much emphasis on “raising taxes” as on not cutting the county and city schools’ proposed budgets.

Whoops! Everybody supports our high level of public education, but to push increasing property taxes on an already financially stressed population should be the funding weapon of last resort – especially without considering other choices.

As a relatively small county of about 150,000 people, our entities still operate separately: Hillsborough, Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Orange County. Each has its own elected officials and administrative staff. There are four departments of public works, four fire departments and police departments, four recreation departments and park systems. Public libraries are separate and can’t cross-reference each other electronically, and the county and city schools are run completely separately.

What a waste! Even Duke and Carolina are cooperating in sharing library references, classes and a shuttle bus.

The tremendous cost of running four duplicated governments and services in four different locations calls for huge capital outlay, with no apparent gain in quality. To combine just the administrative staffs would result in millions in savings and free up money for where it is needed more.

Electronic and transportation advances have changed our county practically, philosophically and financially, reducing the need for duplications of the past. Isn’t it time we gave cooperation a try?

Marty Mandell