Because you can. Because the higher you go up – The tougher it becomes. The Federal budget? Forget about it. Typically well over 2000 pages. (Tolstoy’s “War and Peace” is 1,296 pages) The State budget? Still, extremely hard. Even the next level up, Lehigh County – your head will spin trying to make sense of a budget that is 20x the size of even a very large municipality like ours is.
And this isn’t a knock on those who work with those budgets. (at least not always..) Its just a size and scale thing. I think we have a very transparent county government right now, however just the sheer size and scale makes it tougher for a resident to vet their budget. And generally, the higher up you go the more higher likelihood of shenanigans.
This makes at face value and in theory local municipalities the most responsive level of government. And it’s true here in Lower Mac. In a reasonable amount of time you can go to the township building ask for the budget binder and literally see exactly where every single dollar goes. I’d say a pretty clear understanding can be gained in an hours time.
Now the proposed 2017 Lower Mac budget is large. No doubt about it. Afterall, we are 32,000 residents and 24 square miles. We have 29 parks, a large community center, library, pool, 131 miles of roads and millions of dollars of equipment and other assets to maintain those roads, parks and facilities. Even still in about an hours time you can look at the budget and get a very clear picture where your money is being spent. We strive to make the budget process as clearly transparent and user friendly as possible.
This is the size of the 2017 proposed budget Commissioners rec’d last week. It’s large but still manageable for the average resident to vet. That’s the beauty of local government.
You have 4 major opportunities to participate in the process over the next 2 months. All in the formative stages before the first public reading.
October 5, 2016 Board of Commissioners’ Public Workshop #1 @ 7 p.m. (Primarily for LMT Departments and Community Organizations to justify their yearly requests)
October 19, 2016 Board of Commissioners’ Public Workshop #2 @ 7 p.m.
November 2, 2016 Board of Commissioners’ Public Workshop #3 @ 7 p.m.
November 17, 2016 First Public Reading of Budget Public Advertising for Inspection and Ordinance
Nov. 21 – Dec. 15, 2016 Further Public Inspection period.
So take a look. Ask me questions. In fact. Grill us. That is how local government is supposed to work. It’s the way it works best and the way it’s designed.