December 27, 2010
By Vance Phillips
Sussex County Council
As we close out 2010, I would like to wish everyone a Happy New Year. In reflection, I would like to say thank you to my fellow County Council members as I pass the gavel to Vice President Mike Vincent in 2011. For two years, you have allowed me to lead, and for that I am grateful.
Thank you to County Administrator David Baker, whose quiet and unassuming dedication serves as a model for public service. Thank you to the administrative staff and employees of Sussex County, as it may be one of the best run governments in the country. And thank you to the people of Sussex who make it one of the best places to live in the world.
I have had the privilege to serve as the Sussex County Council president for the last two years. During this time, we have stopped the bleeding of three straight years of deficit spending and balanced our budget without tapping into reserves. Our preliminary audit of the 2010 budget has actually indicated a healthy surplus, giving the Council the opportunity to restore funding to towns and fire companies who partnered with the county to restore discipline to our budget process in 2009. In addition, Sussex County has rewarded the taxpayer by eliminating the capitation tax in 2011 and provided year-end bonuses to its much-reduced workforce who carried the load while our government restructured its spending.
Rare is it that politicians make the difficult decisions to fix a bloated budget with real budget reductions, rather than increased taxes. Yet that is exactly what Sussex County did when it reduced spending by 16% without cutting critical services. Also, by trimming the staff of more than 500 employees by 10% through attrition and an early retirement option, the Council has ensured a more efficient government for years to come. By taking the common sense pathway to good government, the County Council has earned the right to be called public servants.
We are fortunate in Sussex County to be a living example of why conservative principles have made America great. Our government understands that its citizens must accept a healthy degree of personal responsibility in order to thrive as a society. We believe in God and the Constitution and that ‘free enterprise’ will make our economy strong, long after borrowed stimulus dollars from China have dried up.
Coupled with our low taxes and limited government, these virtues of Sussex County provide a quality of life that gives me hope for the future. A hope, I pray, America can discover before it is too late.
God Bless you and may God Bless Sussex County and the United States of America.
Sussex County Council