Pet fees misappropriated like Social Security funds

Thank you for being one of our most loyal readers. Please consider supporting community journalism by subscribing.


Re: “Wishing for Wilson: New year must lead to new animal shelter,” Times editorial, Tuesday:

When the citizens agree to fund a particular project, such as the citizens did for the new animal shelter, they do it in response to a need. It is earmarked funding.

Much the same as the citizens did for Social Security funding. And much like the Congress has done repeatedly, the Wilson County Board of Commissioners has seen fit to raid the dedicated funds for something they perceived was a more immediate crisis.

Social Security is in crisis because the trillions of dollars “borrowed by Congress” have never been repaid. Likewise, the $800,000-plus “borrowed” by the county has never been repaid.

And to make matters worse, the cost of accomplishing the same plans for the shelter have risen. Those plans will now likely top out over $1 million.

Elected officials have a bad habit of feeling that they are above accountability when it comes to their decisions about what to do with your money.

But, when money is earmarked — by a specific fee for a specific cause — that should never be the case. The commissioners dump the earmarked funds into the general fund and then feel free to spend it on what they personally feel is the best use of that money.

That is the very paternalistic pattern of elected officials here, in our state capital and in our nation’s capital. And damn it, it’s just plain wrong.

Senior citizens have paid into the Social Security system for decades. There was a contractual obligation by Congress to protect those funds for our use when needed. Now we’re made to feel like we’re a drag on the economy. We’re not charity cases. We paid our way. Congress, through malfeasance, has nearly destroyed it.

The same is true of the Board of Commissioners. They took dedicated and earmarked funds paid for by the people of the community through fees to be used specifically for that animal shelter.

It was an implied contract between the citizens and the board.

The Wilson County Board of Commissioners is in breach of contract. Time to pay up or be hounded from office.

Dave Hager