The Town That Cried Wolf!

by Victor Petersen
Currently, there is a battle in the Town of Gilbert over whether or not to approve a tax increase. Whether in favor or opposed to the tax, generally both sides have accepted the premise of a $15 million problem or deficit in the General Fund.
Unfortunately, the interest generated by this debate is too recent for most people to recognize this claim of "budget deficit" as a regular and, in fact, average occurrence.
For the last four fiscal years, the average budgeted deficit for the General Fund was $14.5 million with all four years planning a deficit of at least $4.2 million. On the other hand, the general fund has actually averaged a $3.6 million surplus. In short, the general fund averaged better than budgeted by $18.1 million with every year better than budgeted by at least $3.7 million.
In light of recent history, it seems doubtful there will be a deficit of any kind, to say nothing of a $15 million one. At any rate, the town has cried "Wolf!" a little too often for the informed citizen to pay any mind, much less any new taxes.

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