Blog

Unfunded Mandates

An unfunded mandate is a requirement, usually Federal in nature, that instructs the County to spend money on a certain expense. A theoretical example is that the Federal government decides that all Sheriff's deputies must wear a pink helmet. In this scenario, the County is told that if its deputies aren't wearing pink helmets by the end of the year, some related Federal grant which pays for deputy radio antennas will be withheld. The problem is, these types of mandates are difficult to plan for and as a result, the County ends up spending money on these requirements instead of on more pressing local issues.

If we as a County decide to rely upon Federal funding, we open ourselves up to situations where pink helmet purchases can be required. In contrast, so long as the County wants to operate nursing homes, for example, we have little or no option to oppose Federal edicts regarding their operation. I suppose the lesson here is simply to beware Feds bearing gifts, as accepting them may result in unexpected expenditures.

If elected, I will request that a new requirement for our County budgeting be the creation and inclusion of an analysis of unfunded mandates broken down by department. In many cases, the County may not be able to turn down Federal funding or grants, but it is important that our residents be given the opportunity to understand why certain expenditures are made by the County.

  • Unfunded Mandates

    An unfunded mandate is a requirement, usually Federal in nature, that instructs the County to spend money on a certain expense. A theoretical example is that the Federal government decides that all Sheriff's deputies must wear a pink helmet. In this scenario, the County is told that if its deputies aren't wearing pink helmets by the end of the year, some related Federal grant which pays for deputy radio antennas will be withheld. The problem is, these types of mandates are difficult to plan for and as a result, the County ends up spending money on these requirements instead of on more pressing local issues.

    If we as a County decide to rely upon Federal funding, we open ourselves up to situations where pink helmet purchases can be required. In contrast, so long as the County wants to operate nursing homes, for example, we have little or no option to oppose Federal edicts regarding their operation. I suppose the lesson here is simply to beware Feds bearing gifts, as accepting them may result in unexpected expenditures.

    If elected, I will request that a new requirement for our County budgeting be the creation and inclusion of an analysis of unfunded mandates broken down by department. In many cases, the County may not be able to turn down Federal funding or grants, but it is important that our residents be given the opportunity to understand why certain expenditures are made by the County.

  • The Madison County Golf Course

    In preparation for this evening's Madison Meadows Golf Association meeting, I took the time to produce a chart outlining all the potential outcomes which could affect the course and its operations. There's been a great deal of discussion surrounding the proposed golf course district ballot initiative, but what's been lacking is a blunt explanation of what could happen in a variety of scenarios over the next few years.

    To begin, we need to evaluate the following facts:

  • Senior Center Signage

    This morning, I received verbal permission to join my opponents in placing a campaign sign at the Ennis Senior Center. I am grateful for the opportunity but I must respectfully decline the offer. The Ennis Senior Center receives funding from the Madison County Senior Services levy and I believe it is inappropriate to utilize facilities funded all or in part by county tax dollars for political purposes. My decision is in no way a condemnation of the Senior Center itself or the citizens it serves and I pledge to continue our county's support for its operations in perpetuity.

  • Employee Retention and the Automation of County Services

    This past Tuesday afternoon, I was pleased to weigh in at the weekly MCC meeting on a contract proposal seeking to automate a workflow in the GIS office. As our residents may know, staffing challenges in the Planning and GIS departments have increased employee workload to an unmanageable level. When asked, I offered my opinion that the proposed expenditure is a relative bargain given the proposed reduction in effort for our existing staff. Those tasks which previously took an average of two hours will soon be completed in fewer than ten minutes.