In a year which may see both the city and county school systems raising millage rates to offset the increasingly difficult state budget cuts for education, it's encouraging that neither the City of Valdosta nor Lowndes County are raising taxes.

The city's budget passed Thursday with no increase planned, despite the fact that it's the largest budget in the city's history. The city was able to fund several new positions sorely needed in the police and fire departments, raise wages, fund capital projects and add to the reserve funds, all without having to come to taxpayers with hands outstretched.

It looks like the county will also be able to fund necessary programs without having to impose on taxpayers. A final vote on the budget is scheduled for tonight, and it's encouraging to see both governments living within their means.

It is unlikely that either government will ever be able to fully fund all of the requests received, both from internal departments and from local organizations. The county's ability to maintain services and include funding for much needed projects, from the new jail to emergency medical services, without raising taxes is a sign of a healthy, growing economy.

Representatives from the city and county stated that it was a difficult budget process as fuel costs, health care costs and demands for services have all increased, but no one agrees that adding to the burden of taxpayers is the way to make up the difference.

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