Budget season a busy time for community government

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

It’s that time of year that I would imagine is hardest for local officials. That’s because it’s that time of year when budgets get developed.

Hours and hours and hours of going over needs versus wants; and, of course, the first thing you learn is that one man’s want is another man’s need and vice versa. I know, because I’ve spent — well, hours and hours and hours of my life, listening to the discussions; usually with my head in my hand or resting on the bench in front of me.

Budget constraints rule every decision every board makes, but there is nothing like seeing those constraints put in place.

This is the time of year when those issues push hardest to the forefront.

Some worry that government officials and local boards think they have a pot of money that it can dip into whenever they want. Actually, you don’t have to worry about that. Elected officials know just how little there is to spend, really.

They are the ones who agonized over the budget. They are the ones who met with various agencies and organizations to hear their desires and get to hear residents complain about why their tax dollars should or shouldn’t be going to this or that project.

Occasionally these complaints are delivered at a meeting but usually they are made at church, in a restaurant or in a phone call at home.

All I’m saying is that the assumption that our local officials don’t put much thought into how they spend our dollars ignores what they do.

Trust me, they spend a lot of time concerned with where tax dollars go.

Trust me, I’m there for a lot of the discussion.

Jamie C. Ruff is a reporter for The Kenbridge-Victoria Dispatch. He can be reached at jamie.ruff@kvdispatch.com.