Now is time to get involved in budget process

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Believe it or not, today is the last day of spring, and it was a pleasant one by way of temperatures, if not by way of the downpours that washed out roads, damaged homes and polluted wells.

But at least it was a break from some of the blazing hot springs we've had over the last few years.

Summer promises to come in true to form, with temperatures reaching into the 90s for the rest of the week and triple digits on Sunday.

The summer months are time for vacations, for wheat harvest, for gardening, for baseball and softball -- and for the city to draft its annual budget.

Meeting Monday, the City Council set budget hearings July 16-19 in the council chambers. While it will be City Manager Kurt Fritsch's first budget for McCook, judging from past budget sessions, there's a possibility it won't take the entire time allotted.

But we hope it does. That's because we hope citizens turn out to learn about how their city operates and voice their opinions about where and how money should be spent, or not spent.

Of special interest this year will be the impact of the city sales tax and the possibility it will end in 2008. Last year, it brought in more than $1.3 million, with half of that going toward property tax relief and half to other projects.

Now is the time for citizens to become informed and help their council members decide how the city's budget should be spent.

It's not unusual for those who want a share of the pie to turn out for budget hearings to make their plea. Less common are those who want the city to spend less money, and offer practical ways to do so.

So why not get involved and plan to attend a budget hearing or two? There are worse places to be on a hot summer evening than in a comfortable, air conditioned City Council room.

And, if you'd like more information, or want to provide input in the meantime, here is some contact information:

City Council members:

Mayor Dennis Berry, dberry@esu15.org (308) 345-6513

Lonnie Anderson, landerson@mccooknet.com (308) 345-4246

Colleen Grant, colleensue47@mccooknet.com (308) 350-2374

Aaron Kircher, kirchermcc04@yahoo.com (308) 344-9001

Marty Conroy, martyconroy@hotmail.com (308) 345-6115

City Manager

Kurt Fritsch, citymgr@cityofmccook.com (308) 345-2022 x 225

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