Weekly Feature

2014-10-29 / Editorial

Stay informed by attending meetings

Bee Editorial

The Town of Tonawanda is preparing to adopt its budget for 2015. The Town Board will hold a hearing on the spending plan at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 6, in the Council Chambers at the Municipal Building, 2919 Delaware Ave.

The budget hearing gives residents a chance to speak with town officials and express any concerns or ask questions they may have about the budget. Once the hearing has occurred, the board typically adopts the budget at the next meeting. The Bee believes that residents should attend the hearing whether they plan on speaking or not.

While residents cannot vote on the budget, their input does matter. The hearing is the last chance residents have to effectively voice their opinions on a budget that may affect their taxes and the services they care about.

Once it’s adopted, the Town Board cannot make any changes. During a typical budget hearing, a town employee provides a simplified overview of the proposed budget. The presentation breaks down the most important parts of the budget, such as the General Fund or the Highway Fund. Time is then provided for questions and comments.

The tentative budget is available to the public beforehand so residents have a chance to review it before the hearing. The town’s proposed budget can be viewed at www.tonawanda. ny.us under the “Agendas and Minutes” link.

If you feel strongly on this issue, make your opinion known at the public hearing. Do not wait until action is taken and it is too late. Too many times residents approach the board after a decision has been made and are left to walk away disappointed or discouraged. Be proactive and empowered with your attendance on Nov. 6. By the same token, The Bee believes that it is important for residents to attend the regular board meetings as well. It’s especially important for residents to participate in government at a local level because their input carries more weight.

These meetings provide a platform for town officials to hear what the community members think on an issue.

Oftentimes, residents can bring up points or perspectives on an issue that council members may not have considered.

Meetings also keep residents up to date about upcoming projects, issues that the town is dealing with, new laws and other important information.

Attending these meetings is the best way to stay current and be an informed, active resident.

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