Open Mic Tonight

How often are you provided an open mic to have your say before decision makers about things that affect the street where you live? Well, your chance is coming TONIGHT at 7:00 at the Lake Park Budget Hearing and Town Meeting. Step up to the mic. Your audience awaits!

Tonight is the first of two public hearings on the Proposed Budget for 2011/2012. Time is nearly up to let your commissioners know what you think about their spending plans. We have posted quite a bit about the budget here at The Street Where You Live. You can do a search and find those posts from the past month or so if you are interested in a reminder of the many topics discussed.

Your town leaders have ideas about how high your tax rate should be (hint: for many of them it’s pretty dang high) and about how they would like to appropriate those funds; what are the chances those ideas match up with yours?  You’ll have three minutes to have your say about it…ready? Go!

An open mic means there are sure to be some noteworthy public comments and discussion. The last budget workshop was very telling. If you missed it or don’t recall what was said, come and listen carefully, ask questions, take notes and play a little catch up because after tonight, there is only one more public hearing, at which time the final vote will be taken; then it’s all over but the cryin’. No really. This budget and tax rate could make a grown man cry. And I don’t mean all that crying over the town employees having to pay something toward their own insurance. That would be one of the few common sense moves we might hope for.

Thing is, once the deed (this budget) is done, there is no turning back. You can kiss that money goodbye. Miss your chance now, and forget it. Look where we are today. How do you think we got here? I suggest in large part it’s from years of uncontested budget decisions and spending sprees; money spent on a whole lot of nonsense. More of the same is in the works and will be coming our way if people do not stand up and speak out.

Unfortunately neither the budget workshop minutes nor the minutes from the last two commission meetings have been posted on the town website, so you won’t get any help there. It is now September 7th and the last minutes posted were from the July 13th meeting. Hmmm. That’s two budget meetings and two commission meetings that have passed and no record of either of them has been submitted in order for the public to review what has been discussed so far. Why do you suppose that is?

You can send your concerns (budgetary and otherwise) to the town manager and the commissioners by email at the addresses listed on the Town Website or you can call and speak to them personally. The phone number is listed there as well.

Norman Rockwell – Freedom of Speech

Take some time and review the facts. Have a personal conversation with the commissioners and show up at the meeting to have your say publicly. If you want to offer input, this is the time to speak out. Do not take this opportunity for granted. This is your town. What you say matters.

The regular commission meeting will follow the budget hearing so residents will have an opportunity to speak there as well. The Bank Ordinance regarding the foreclosed homes will be up for final vote. There has also been discussion of this ordinance here on the blog on August 6th (Doing Homework, Avoiding Cliffs) including responses given by others in the comment section.

What comes of these budget hearings WILL affect you, so you’d better get vocal. Yes, you’ll definitely need to set your speed talking skills to work and aim for the magic 3 minute mark, but whether you speak from your notes or straight off the cuff and from the heart, it’s important to exercise your freedom of speech.

Keep it limber. We’re gonna need it to be in peak condition for the days to come. I have a feeling that mic is going to be getting an “earful” for quite some time.

Documents of interest:

Public Hearing Agenda

Regular Commission Meeting Agenda

Proposed Fiscal Budget – One note: Salary pages do not show the breakdown of each employee and their personal benefits. In many cases you need to consider that the final salary of an individual, including their benefits and other paid items, will be much higher.