Don’t look now, but inflation is becoming an easy excuse for the governments and school districts that are supposed to be putting their constituents first. Everyone has seen firsthand the price increases not only at the fuel pumps and the grocery stores, but sticker shock also soon will be coming to property taxpayers.
How do we know this? Because government and school districts do not react well in times of higher costs.
Just look at the first draft of the Fredonia school district budget. Initial figures shared at a recent meeting show a total budget of nearly $35 million — an increase of more than $3 million from the current budget. Village of Fredonia costs are also increasing, which means a 2% increase in property taxes. Dunkirk school district also is asking taxpayers to contribute more in their plan.
This is called passing the buck in a community that is already being pushed to a limit. With population declines– in both north county entities — maybe districts and governments need to scale back some of their staffing or services.
Asking residents to pay more is an easy way out, especially after governments and schools got a gift of money from the American Rescue Plan Act that amounted to millions. Of course, that free money is a reason some costs are out of control. You can’t just make money magically appear without consequences.
If this year of budgeting is tough, one thing is certain going forward: it will be worse next year.