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Have your say

Have issues with how the City of Washington spends — or does not spend — money? Want a say in how the city develops its budget for the upcoming 2012-2013 fiscal year?

If so, then consider attending and participating in the public hearing on the proposed budget during the council’s meeting Monday. That meeting begins at 5:30 p.m., with the hearing on the proposed budget scheduled to begin at 6 p.m.

For a heartening change, it would be nice to see more city taxpayers and residents than council members and city staff at the hearing. That rarely, if ever, happens, but it would be a welcome experience.

Many of the people who attend such hearings are there as representatives of nonprofit groups and outside agencies seeking city dollars. Often, the fingers on two hands can account for the number of “average” residents who attend budget hearings.

As Councilman Edward Moultrie Jr. said in a recent interview, the proposed budget should reflect city taxpayers’ wants and wishes, not the City Council’s wants and wishes. City taxpayers should not expect the mayor, council and city staff to develop a budget alone. City taxpayers should let their voices be heard when it comes to budget matters.

As noted about this time last year, by asking for input from the city’s taxpayers, the council is tapping into one of the city’s vital assets — its people.

Who better than those who work, live and play in the city to determine how their money should be spent or not spent than those who provide that money to the city’s coffers?

City taxpayers should avail themselves of the hearing to voice their views on the proposed budget. The opportunity is there, so take advantage of it.

There’s more to being involved with local government than just voting. After exercising your right to vote, exercise your right to be heard at a public meeting.

If one vote can make a difference, one voice could make a difference.