Letter: Every budget decision has deep impact on quality of life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 3, 2020

It’s the time of year again when municipalities and counties draft their annual budgets, and despite frequent assertions to the contrary, the local budgeting process is not a purely bureaucratic exercise of fund balancing. It is in fact an intricate balancing of competing policy and political decisions.

Funds are not unlimited, and with the forecasted revenue decline brought about by the current economic depression (and compounded by state laws which severely restrict local governments’ ability to raise the revenue they need), it is now more important than ever that our local elected public servants judiciously scrutinize the budgets presented by their administrators and managers.

Our elected public servants must remember that every budget decision has a real and deep impact on the basic quality of life for the people they were elected to serve.

It is never an easy task to make these types of decisions, but I urge our elected public servants to keep this in mind when drafting and finalizing the budget: What will be the impact of this particular cut on the people that may depend on this service each and every day?

I would also urge readers to familiarize yourself with all aspects of the budget (not just the parts that would affect only themselves), and to make themselves fully aware of what our elected and appointed officials are prioritizing. With that information and knowledge, readers will be able to judge for themselves whether what these officials are championing and initiating truly prioritizes those in our community who may need extra help.

— Kenneth Stutts