It is that annual time when local governments are huddling, poring over expense requests from area non-profits, from their own department heads, and lining that up with mandated services and expected revenue.
Yes, it is time for area governments to come up with their budgets for the 2010-2011 fiscal year.
Most have been working on these on some level for several months. With the July 1 start of the fiscal year quickly approaching, it is time for final recommendations from city and county managers, then final decisions by the boards of commissioners.
In the midst of that process is an important step — a public hearing.
All local governments must hold a public hearing before the budget can be adopted. What is so perplexing, however, is that while residents often can be heard complaining about some portion of the spending plan throughout the year, few people bother to show up at these public hearings.
This is the time to voice concerns over tax rates, long-term capital expenditures, planned spending for the coming year, or any other facet of the budget proposal.
We don’t suggest people show up simply to fill the meeting room. Anyone who is generally pleased with the budget practices of their present commissioners, or who believes the boards are doing the best possible given economic conditions, then yes, stay home.
But we encourage people who have specific concerns, or suggestions, to take advantage of this opportunity to share those with area boards. It is only by voicing those concerns and ideas to elected leaders that we can hope to let them know what we approve of, or don’t approve of.