I’ve spent a large part of the last few days going over and meeting about my City’s General Fund Budget. At over 180 pages, it is a rather intimidating document. The several other related budget documents don’t make it any less intimidating. The goals of the team of which I am a part are three:
- To better understand the City’s General Fund Budget and how it interacts with other budgets under the City’s justification.
- To explore the shared hope that fresh eyes might find some additional funding for the library.
- To communicate to our City government that we are watching and that we are watching at the line item level.
I’ve mentioned a few times the plight of our local city library.
The reason I bring this up is that I have found the exercise abnormally interesting. I’ve learned things I didn’t even know were subjects to learn. The City’s budget is about the same complexity as that of a major corporation for which I work when, in those days long ago, I did work. While the exercise is ongoing, I now believe that every citizen has an obligation to his or her self, to his or her city and to his or her fellow citizens to do this at least once in a life time. I believe that if citizen involvement at the level our team is perusing were the norm rather than the exception, many cities wouldn’t be in the mess they are now in. And if they got into such a mess anyway, there won’t be as much cynicism about the steps needed to get out.