Editorial: Government decisions belong to us

Jun. 08, 2013 @ 01:52 PM


Optimism would suggest our Henderson City Council is making the right move. Pessimism smirks, leans on the posthole diggers and watches them sit on a fence.

We will choose to believe reality lies somewhere in between, giving benefit of the doubt to public input in the budget process while also knowing council is splintered.

The council is trying to route a budget that doesn’t want to fit within our fiscal means. Money is tight, always is really, even in the good times.

In addition to the budget at hand, the council is also being prompted on the not too distant future, when property revaluations will take place.

Paramount to our city’s leadership is for the council to be united on what they value most in the city. They may not find a unanimous choice, but a focal point would direct their decisions.

Those choices involve our lives, the lives of city workers and what happens in our community in the future. The council must decide cuts in costs, increases in revenue, or the middle ground combination.

Cuts might include freezes on hiring, employee position reductions, furloughs or even retirement incentives for individuals. It could delay maintenance to facilities and infrastructure, slashing departmental budgets, cutbacks to services, and restrictions on purchasing and travel.

Revenue is generated by fee increases, tax increases, asset sales, more reliance on grants, leasing assets and more reliance on reserve funds.

What we expect to happen Monday night in the public hearing is one of two things, or both. First, we expect apathy. Sorry, but we’re watching and listening and not too many have general interest. It is only when touched that most seem to respond.

Secondly, we expect any discussions to be centered on what people don’t want taken away. They’ll be passionate, too. That’s good.

What we’d like to see is the council affirmed of what they can cut, and told by those absorbing the cuts. We’d like to see the council affirmed of what they can increase, and told by those absorbing the increases.

It would be unique, unexpected and noble. When it comes to government, there’s just not too much of that anymore.