A businesslike approach to taxes

Published 10:42 pm Monday, March 23, 2009

During a special informational meeting held Monday by Suffolk City Assessor Sid Daughtrey, City Council member Charles Parr told an audience of about 15 taxpayers that he expects council to try to hold the line on taxes this year. Questioned after the meeting, he clarified that he thinks the city will not seek an increase in the actual tax rate.

Parr acknowledged that households and businesses throughout the city and the nation are being forced to reduce their expenses and become more efficient in light of increasing economic pressures. “Everybody’s got to do that,” he said. “I can see off the top of my head ways that we can be more efficient.”

Parr, of course, is only one person on an eight-member City Council; without the support of at least four other members, what he hopes for is really just a wish.

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Nonetheless, he’s right that City Council needs to be both sensitive to the economic condition of Suffolk’s taxpayers and willing to look creatively at city services to see how the city can provide them at a reduced cost.

It’s the kind of suggestion that one might expect from a businessman, which makes sense, considering Parr runs a successful Suffolk funeral home. Instead of a career politician, he’s a man who has a career and happens to also be a politician. His suggestion reveals a focus on protecting taxpayers and other citizens, rather than protecting the turf of various city departments.

It’s an approach that taxpayers can hope will be emulated by the rest of the City Council during the governing body’s upcoming budget debates.