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  • Last modified 77 days ago (July 3, 2018)

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Governmental headaches

If you thinK keeping track of the mind-bending number of ways government spends our money for us is enough to leave your head spinning, you’re not alone. So, apparently, does the county clerk’s office.

Among the $1,166,666.97 in total monthly spending county commissioners approved Friday was one charge (aside from the “666” sign-of-the-devil in the total) that stood out: $7.50 in taxpayer money spent on Ibuprofen.

Amounts spent each month on county expenses can seem staggering. This month, the county spent at least $5,410 for employees to attend various meetings and conferences. Included were car rental fees, checked baggage fees, and many, many meals.

Even when in the courthouse, employees seem to expect the county to pick up the tab for such things as bottled water ($160.15), soda pop ($38.16), and coffee ($218.46). Despite having a burgeoning fleet of county vehicles, employees also charge for mileage to the tune of $297.57, nearly half of which — as usual — went to the director of the department on aging, which has two under-used vehicles at its disposal.

While most of us use our own cell phones at work, many county employees get county-paid phones, at a total cost of $3,476.18 monthly. The biggest bill, $1,040.17, goes to road and bridges. The most surprising are $104.44 for the courthouse custodian and $93.41 for sheriff’s dispatchers.

These sums are trifling compared to the $20,832 it costs to dump our garbage in Butler County each month — a cost we could have avoided a decade and a half ago if we had approved a landfill that would make money instead of a transfer station that seems to cost us every time we turn around.

But that’s beside the point. Last month, Marion County spent the equivalent of $96.39 for every resident of the county, including children. If you and each other member of your family didn’t get at least that much benefit from what was spent, you need to start joining the small handful of people who look at such things as what county commissioners do and what the county spends its money on each month.

It’s all out there for the public to see and comment on.

— ERIC MEYER

Last modified July 3, 2018

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