Uncertain economic times bring added tensions to the practice of revenue sharing among and between governmental units. When money becomes short, so does the patience of the players when it comes to divvying up taxpayer dollars. Federal, state, municipal and township entities all wish to hold their ground and burnish their budgets, even as the pot shrinks.
We are in an extended recession. Federal and state spending continues to be contentious. School funding at local levels is tenuous at best.
When it comes to governmental units competing with each other, we simply cannot afford the expense and the bad feelings. Both would be avoidable but for differences apparently unresolvable through normal negotiations.
Recently it has been a turf battle with Eureka Township pitted against Greenville and a valued employer wanting to expand: Mersen USA.
Not so long ago it was Montcalm Township that was challenging the patience of its own taxpayers. The township’s tasks were not getting done in a timely manner, there was confusion in the tax rolls, and the resulting disruption was costly.
At the bottom of it all is the matter of providing public service at the most economical and efficient manner possible.
Government means politics, and politics becomes personal; but responsible government also requires collaboration and sound business judgment. The recent history of some townships reflects considerable litigation expense resulting in township dollars going for nonproductive services.
What should make the matter inexcusable from the taxpayers’ point of view is that the Michigan Township Association is a highly-respected organization that offers plenty of training and assistance in township management. It is not unreasonable question whether the expertise offered by that organization has been sufficiently plumbed by people elected to township offices.
Our area townships and cities generally offer good service, and great convenience. But with the uncertainties in the future cost of fuel, medical care, housing, food and multiple levels of government taxes; taxpayers are expecting efficiencies.
We would strongly suggest that the townships and municipalities work together toward what’s best for our citizens and their employers. To do less inevitably exacts a price not worth paying.
Editorial opinions are the consensus of The Daily News editorial board.