There are plenty of ways to make your voice heard.
Be it going to the polls on Election Day, writing letters to the editor or to City Hall, or making phone calls to your local, state and federal government officials, an informed people who are involved in the governing of the place in which they live is always a good thing.
Perhaps the most effective way to make your voice heard, however, is through listening to and addressing governing entities in person. And you’ll have the chance to do just that on Monday evening when the Gardner City Council holds a public hearing on the city’s 2016 budget.
Think the decisions being made in City Hall won’t affect you? Think again. This year’s budget, much like last year’s, is full of difficult decisions to be made by the governing body. The council is considering a budget built with a flat mill increase and flat utility rates. Because the average value of a Gardner home has increased, most residents will pay more next year despite a flat rate. The city is also asking residents to ante up more sales tax funding. Voters will be asked to approve a sales tax increase via mail ballot. Either way, it likely means more dollars paid per month per household by Gardner residents.
If you have a loved one buried in Gardner Cemetery, the council’s decision will affect you. If you enjoy going out to watch movies in the park or listen to music at Celebration Park, the council’s decision will affect you. It will affect you if you use the city’s parks. And, most importantly, it will affect you if you pay taxes here.
Ultimately, whether you’re truly concerned about paying more money to the city – whether it hits you hard in the wallet or not — is for you to decide. But we’ve seen where apathy gets us time and again – those who do not speak up, must be content to live with the consequences.
July 20 at the budget public hearing is your chance to either tell the city you’re satisfied with the budget it has laid out, or that it should be more mindful of how the proposed budget will be used.
Whether you agree with the city’s proposed budget or think more can be done, council members won’t know unless you’re there to sound off as an average citizen and a taxpayer.
Next Monday is your chance to make your voice heard one way or another. And we encourage you to take it.