Sunday, September 27, 2009

Rolling Up Our Sleeves: Productive Budget Work Sessions

A lot of attention was paid to the three budget work sessions we had over the last 10 days, particularly on some of the worst case scenarios outlined and a few dramatic moments where tempers flared.

The real story, though, was in how much progress was made. Official after official came forward, and for the most part either said they could live within the proposed numbers--or pinpointed precisely those areas where help is needed to avoid a particularly dire result. And our administration is now hard at work to deal with those particular areas.

For example, it's safe to say that no commissioner wants to see jailspace reduced by one more bed, courtroom prosecutors laid off, the crime lab closed, or the clerk of courts website shut down, and we will all work together to avoid those and other consequences.

Starting this process early, and conducting the work sessions through public meetings, has brought out the best in so many of our County leaders, and outlined a path to complete what may be the most difficult budget in decades.

And yes, it also allows Commissioners to ask the tough questions--which is part of our job of representing the taxpayers come budget time, even if those questions might ruffle a few feathers.

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