Here We Grow Again....It's May: Do You Know Where Our Budget Is? ~ Annapolis Capital Punishment

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Here We Grow Again....It's May: Do You Know Where Our Budget Is?

Budgets are complex. People who manage them like it that way. It's the same reason why it takes many of us a day's salary or more to pay someone to figure out what we owe the government for our taxes. Sometimes it's not just what we pay that concerns us, but what we have to do or pay someone to do to figure out what we owe. Are government budgets any different?

The Capital just did a piece about our city's budget and I am left with the impression that the author, Liam Farrell, knows about as much about this thing as the rest of us know. Not enough. This article left me disappointed. We expect more, or should expect more from The Capital. He quotes the mayor, the finance director and alderman or two...and that's it.

Yes, personnel and benefits costs go up. They are essential and usually uncontrollable for the most part. We have a comples city, unsually complex for its small residential population. Much of our land is not taxable yet we have many demandes placed upon us that are not normal for small cities. But there is so much more to our budget, now up to $80 million+ that it requires The Capital to a lot more than just swallow the mayor's line. I register my objection to the lack of solid, detailed reporting about our city's budget which is seemingly headed for a quick approval. We need some enterprise reporting, some real service journalism here.

See for yourself at
Maybe the Baltimore Sun will do a better job covering this. We can only hope. Call your alderman and ask him or her, "Why does the budget keep going up and up? Why do my taxes go up and up? What are we getting in return? How is this being reported to us?"

This is neither easy to manage or easy to understand, but I will say it again. A credentialed and experienced city manager will go a loooooong way toward remedying this poor management at all levels of our local government. Which alderman and which mayoral hopeful will step forward and call for a city manager???


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