‘Tis the season for budget hearings in local governments across our land. Budgets are not particularly sexy. But budgets are important for the conduct of local government. Budgets are where local governments enshrine priorities by encasing priorities in specific allocations of cold, hard cash. The city council bloggers around the country who write about budgets have been doing a great job educating people. As you might expect, there are lots of different approaches.
Douglas Athas of Garland, Texas, tells people just how much in debt their government is on their behalf. He’s got a real gift among us council bloggers for his use of graphics to explain things. I don’t know issues in his town, but in Lakewood, Wash., if 45 percent of our budget went to pay debt the voters woulda strung us up by now.
Matthew Petty of Fayetteville, Ark., finds himself in dialogue not only on his blog but on Facebook and the papers over the ‘T word:’ Taxes.
Seattle’s Tim Burgess directs people to video.
Alderman Garry Schroeder of LaSalle, Ill., gives some heck to the local newspapers and his peers on the council, but more importantly, says he’s setting the record straight on a proposal.
And in what I thought was the funniest post, playing with references to clairvoyance, Dallas’ Angela Hunt talks about what happened after the previous budget was passed and what collisions may be expected this year. She also has some budget town hall video on her blog, which combines very well with the printed material including a third element, Excel spreadsheets of her own design. Impressive.
As I read or skim all these items, I think: how did all these things get said and distributed *before* all the digital tools we have today on the Internet? Just looking over our partial compilation of the city council members who blog can get you excited about the growing potential of digital democracy.
Photo credit: And thanks to East Carolina U for a great mood photo of money!