Budgets need public input

Published 1:07 am Wednesday, April 24, 2013

It’s budget-preparation time for local governments. County commissioners, city councils and town councils will be deciding how to spend taxpayers’ money.

And if years of previous budget cobbling have taught us anything, it’s that the vast majority of taxpayers don’t show up during the budget workshops and public hearings to provide input on how their money should be spent. That’s a shame.

But when there is significant input on a budget from the public, what a welcome change form the usual apathy.

With counties and cities spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars, one would think that most taxpayers would want to have a say in how their tax dollars are allocated. They will complain that their taxes are too high and that county, city or town officials are just a bunch of spendthrifts. Most of those doing the loudest complaining rarely attend a budget workshop or public hearing to provide input on the tax rate or how tax money is appropriated.

For those who have issues with how much money the county, city or town is spending or what the county, city or town is spending that money on, it may behoove them to go to a pubic hearing on a budget and speak up. Believe it or not, commissioner and council members would welcome input presented in a logical, civil manner.

It’s the taxpayers who live, work and play in a county, city or town who are best suited to help make those places a better place to live. As we’ve said before, who better to know what a county, city or town needs and wants than those who live there?

If you want to make a difference in local government, get involved at budget-cobbling time.