Commissioner proposes fund for cash donations to county

Want to give some extra money to the county? Commissioner establishes special account for donations.

For most people, there’s a death-like inevitability about the payments they make to the government. But one county official has come up with an idea that he thinks could inject a measure of choice into the obligatory act of paying one’s taxes.

Earlier this week, county commissioner Bill Lashley announced the creation of a special account for any voluntary contributions that residents are inclined to make to support the operations of Alamance County’s departments and agencies.

During a regularly-scheduled meeting on Monday, Lashley explained the intentions behind this so-called “citizens voluntary fund,” which will serve as a repository for donations that are earmarked for certain departments rather than particular programs or projects. The first-term commissioner noted that he was inspired to propose this fund after hearing some residents object to a one-cent property tax cut that the board of commissioners chose to include in a budget they passed earlier that evening.

“I’ve gotten emails from some folks who aren’t enamored with a tax cut,” he said after the 4-to-1 vote in favor of the new spending plan. “So, I wanted to provide an avenue…if you find some cash in your sofa, or you get left some money from your favorite uncle, and you want it to go to the county government.”

Although the county has always accepted cash contributions from residents, these donations have generally been tied to particular projects or initiatives. Lashley stressed that a donation to the new voluntary fund will be more like blank checks for a specific department or agency.

“You have to designate a department for it to go to,” he added. “I want to emphasize this is for a specific department, not a project…But this would be a great way for you to fund the departments you like…I hope everybody will take advantage of it. I know I certainly will.”