As a taxpayer, I am fed up with Blaine County’s cavalier attitude toward public expenditures. Present leadership shows little regard for the financial carnage caused by COVID-19 and the Great Recession.

Despite record unemployment, our county commissioners recently ladled out $80,000 in bonuses to public employees. Our unemployed taxpayers are expected to foot the bill.

Over the last eight years, the salaries and benefits for Blaine County commissioners increased by 55 percent (well beyond the rate of inflation or commensurate wage gains for the corresponding period). With total compensation exceeding $120,000 per commissioner, taxpayers are being asked to pay full-time salaries for part-time work.

County commissioners are the only elected officials who can set their own salaries. This is untenable. Our political institutions are at risk when politicos fatten themselves at the public trough and force unemployed taxpayers to financially support them.  

To cure this cancer, we need to cut off the blood supply and demand a reduction in public expenses. Our public leaders should be held accountable to the taxpayers who employ them. Government was never intended to be a “growth industry.”  It is time to focus on fixing potholes and eliminate the wasteful programs inhabiting the public sector (e.g. a local housing authority with a significant payroll and little to show at the end of the day.)

Stop unnecessary spending. Property taxes are not a limitless well. Support a candidate who will actually fix our potholes and cut public waste. This is why I ask you to vote for Kiki Tidwell for county commissioner.

Tim Gardiner, Blaine County

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