June 10, 2016
As we reported last week, the BOC is required to have a public hearing before they can legally adopt a budget. Yesterday, the notice of the public hearing went up on the BOC’s webpage.
Public hearings for the FY 2017 Budget will be held
Monday, June 13, 2016 at 9:00AM and at 6:00PM.
The budget must also be available for citizens to review in a “convenient public location”—like the website maybe? Mike Benton’s letter to the editor yesterday is the only time we have seen or heard of where the budget was available for review. He said the budget can be seen at the BOC office—that would be during office hours only. If you want to see it, and you work during the day, tough luck! This BOC doesn’t want anything to be easy or convenient for the citizens.
Last year Comm. Pennamon said, “Citizens are either not concerned about the taxes or they are pleased with the taxes. If they were concerned, someone would be here speaking up.”
So, who can attend at 9:00AM? No one that works for a living. And who can attend at 6:00PM? No one that works outside of Jasper County and gets off at 5:00PM or after. (Both Monticello and Shady Dale hold their meetings at 7:30PM so everyone has an opportunity to get home, eat supper, and attend.)
In reality, the budget and the millage rate were voted on and set on 5/23/16, and there have been no additional meetings (as of this writing) scheduled to further discuss the budget or millage rate.
Rarely are all 5 commissioners in attendance at the budget hearings; in fact it is rare if more than 2 attend. Is this because they don’t really care what you think or have any intentions of implementing any suggestions you may have? Last year 2 commissioners attended in the morning, allowed the one citizen that attended 3 minutes to speak, and got up and left.
Comm. Salmon said, “The bottom line is not going to change,” after they passed the FY17 budget and millage rate on 5/23/16 and Sheriff Pope made inquiries about it.
TWG certainly urges you to attend and say a few words, but if you can not, at least call the BOC members and continue to urge them to cut the budget and to cut the millage rate. Otherwise, expect your tax bill to be higher when you receive it in August.