Voice your opinion – attend public hearings

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Sometime by the end of the month, local units of government must adopt their budgets for the 2014-15 fiscal year, which starts July 1. Before they do, they must hold public hearings to allow people to express concerns or ask questions related to their proposed budgets.

Nash County commissioners are holding a public hearing during a meeting at 10 a.m. today in Nashville, and Edgecombe County commissioners are holding a public hearing during a meeting at 7 p.m. tonight in Tarboro.

We encourage Twin Counties residents to attend those public hearings and make their voices heard.

Nash County officials have proposed a budget with no property tax rate increase. Edgecombe County’s manager presented a budget recommendation with a six-cent tax increase, but county commissioners directed him to bring back a revised budget proposal with no tax increase for the board to consider at a later date. Doing so will mean trimming more from an already lean budget. We urge residents to pay attention to the process.

Other local units of government have public hearings scheduled later this month, including the city of Rocky Mount, which plans to hold a public hearing to allow people to discuss the city’s proposed 2014-15 fiscal year budget during a 7 p.m. meeting June 9 in the City Council chambers at City Hall.

The operations of local units of government affect us all in many different aspects of our lives, ranging from trash collection and water and sewer services to education to community programs and agencies. Therefore, it’s important for us to pay attention to the funding and budgetary decisions our county and municipal leaders make.

As they work on finalizing and adopting their budget proposals for the coming fiscal year, make sure you pay attention.

Ask questions.

Voice your priorities and concerns.

The point of these public hearings is to allow for public input and participation into the budget process. That only works if people show up.