Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Our View: Budget discussions of interest to all

June 20, 2007

It's that time of year again, when city councils, school boards, county commissions and other local taxing districts begin work on their budgets for the coming fiscal year.

Take heed taxpayers: This is when you should let your feelings known about how your tax money should be spent.

Throughout the summer, in meetings and work sessions, elected boards will be making decisions on priorities for the coming year -- deciding where to spend limited public resources.

Although these meetings historically don't draw much attention from the public, they remain the best venues in which property owners and other taxpayers can deliver their input on the spending plans.

Open meeting requirements help ensure budgetary decisions are made in public view. State law also requires city councils, school boards, the county commission and other taxing entities to publish their proposed budgets and to schedule a public hearing before adopting a budget.

Elected officials don't hold an exclusive right to the best ideas for spending tax funds, and the best of those officials gladly welcome input on budget decisions. Of course, not everybody showing up at a budget hearing will leave satisfied, but it does ensure their voice is heard.

Later this fall, when property tax bills go out, it'll be too late to complain. The time for input is now.

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