There’s no doubt about it; the year 2020 will be one for the history books.Whether it is written as a good year or a bad year we will have to wait and see. Maybe, like the great “computer crash” of Y2K and the Mayan Calendar apocalypse, 2020 will only be a foot note in history; or maybe it will be recalled as a time of great change.
Although not national, and definitely not global, one thing that residents can help keep control of in 2020 are local government budgets. Now is the time local entities are considering their (our) bottom line.
Edgerton, Olathe and Gardner, local fire districts and townships, are determining their mill levy rates, which equates to how much we will pay in taxes, and how it will be used. Think they get to much? too little? Now’s the time to have your voice heard.
Gardner, Edgerton, Olathe and USD 231 will be scheduling budget hearings. Information on how those budgets are put together is public information. Financial information and meetings should be open to the public, and with the exception of Gardner, budgets will be published in this newspaper for residents to peruse.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions.
With COVID 19 are you curious if school expenses will remain the same even though part of student instruction is online? What about transportation, meal cost and other fees?
With reduced hours and services in some community buildings, will costs go down? Or up? And why?
If employees are working from home will salary be structured in the same way, or will there be a change? Same with cost of utilities and overhead at public buildings?
With athletic programs cut due to the pandemic – no sporting events, no aquatic center, limited classroom events – should taxes go down? or up?
Don’t be afraid to ask.
And local officials should not be shy about answering. Accountability and transparency are the key to good government.
Don’t be intimidated. Don’t think you are a bother. If they brush you off or talk legal-eeze, ask them again and hold them accountable.
Ask. Make your questions and thoughts known.
After all, you are the one paying the “bill.”