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We commend our county commissioners who late last week stepped up and took a stand on county spending.

They're working on a tight budget and for weeks had seemed to let Chairman Kathy Morgan take all the heat and stand alone in suggesting where to cut an already lean budget. But in a Thursday work session, Commissioner Tim Fleming set out a $44.28 million budget proposal that has the support of Commissioner Mort Ewing and Commissioner J.C. Henderson. Commissioner Nancy Schulz put a $45.13 million budget on the table. Commissioners are expected to take a budget vote on Monday. You can read about the plans on Page 1 in today's newspaper.

We appreciate their efforts in seeking out cuts and savings that will allow our county to provide essential functions, but we absolutely abhor any suggestion of a millage increase, even a slight increase, as called for by Schulz in her proposal. As we have noted before, hard-pressed county residents do not want and can't afford any increase in the tax burden.

One common element in the plans that we found especially appealing is a call for folks to step up, get involved in the community and volunteer.

Schulz and Fleming each proposed cuts in animal control with volunteers to fill the void, and Schulz wants the county to seek out volunteers in every department.

That's a fantastic idea.

Volunteers can staff the reference desk at the library, serve up refreshments at the ballpark, help out with programs for seniors and maybe man the phones at the administration building. We'd be a bit leery of a volunteer driving a mowing tractor along the highway, but it would be great to have more folks out picking up trash and litter, too.

In the best of all possible worlds, folks who are unemployed and receiving benefits could give back and perform community service work until they find a full-time job. Our cash-strapped local governments, service groups and charities would receive a much-needed influx of helpers and folks who are unemployed would get the ego boost that comes from helping others and from engaging in a meaningful activity.

Everyone wins.