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Huckleberries Online

Mon., July 28, 2014, 8:47 a.m.

Press: Now Hear This, Cities

Let's get one uncomfortable truth right out of the way: When it comes to budgets, most people pay attention only after they've been bitten in a tender place. Almost nobody shows up for cities' summer budget workshops except the people who are paid to be there. Letters to the editor decrying municipal budget proposals are rare. And when it comes to the obligatory public hearings before the seal of approval is applied with a resounding thud that echoes through nearly empty chambers, most folks are somewhere else. Most folks choose to be almost anyplace else.The thing about these city budgets is that they're important. Mighty boring, maybe, but important. They affect every single citizen in that city through the provision of services like fire and police protection. They make sure your trash gets taken away and life-sustaining water flows into your home. They plant the seeds for new parks and maintain the ones you already enjoy. They ensure the streets and sidewalks you use to get to those parks - and to school and work and the grocery store - are navigable in good weather and bad. And they do much, much more/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press Editorial Board. More here.

Question: Why aren't people interested enough in the budget process of local government to show up for workshops?

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D.F. Oliveria
D.F. (Dave) Oliveria joined The Spokesman-Review in 1984. He currently is a columnist and compiles the Huckleberries Online blog and writes about North Idaho in his Huckleberries column.

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