09/29/06 — Watchdogs: You don’t need a committee to influence spending

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Watchdogs: You don’t need a committee to influence spending

Duplin County residents are taking their county’s future spending into their own hands.

The Duplin Fiscal Oversight Committee is being charged with taking a look at what the county wants to spend — and then recommending where to put tax dollars.

The committee’s role is more of an advisory capacity. County leaders will make the final decision on the budget allocations. But that doesn’t mean that residents’ opinions won’t influence the final numbers.

And all of this comes with the blessing of the county leadership.

The Duplin example is a good idea. Getting more residents involved in the budgeting process allows county leaders to show the needs and then to enlist the community’s support in determining where to spend and where to wait.

But you do not actually have to be on an oversight committee to have some say in how your county spends money. The records of any budget and fiscal transactions are public record and must be provided to anyone who asks. If you want to know what your county is doing with your money, attend board of commissioners meetings, especially during the budgeting process. You might be surprised at where your money is going.

Setting a community’s priorities requires more than simply sitting back and picking leaders. To influence the future, you have to get involved in the process.

And that requires keeping your eyes open and your ear to the ground — especially when it comes to your money.

Published in Editorials on September 29, 2006 11:14 AM