As published in the Record Journal on Sunday March 14, 2010
Budget season is effectively upon us; don’t let the fact that the recent Town Council meeting ran a record short 10 minutes or so — there’s plenty to discuss in the upcoming weeks.
Traditionally, budget sessions are not recorded and televised. Historically, these meetings have been held on separate dates from the normal Town Council meetings and the Wallingford Government Television staff has not been tapped to work.
It is possible that the budget sessions will be recorded and televised; we do have the new camera setup that allows the sessions to be recorded with fewer personnel. This cuts down on one of the chief arguments for not televising them in the past which was the desire to not overwork / over leverage the GTV staff.
The most logical answer to this would be to incorporate the budget meetings on regular council nights as they did the past couple of years.
It doesn’t make sense to have comparatively short council meetings (the past two were less than two hours combined total time) and then have all nine councilors and the mayor show up on additional evenings to discuss the budget separately when this all could be accomplished on the regular evenings.
We will have to see what decisions are made.
In consideration of what’s at stake this year — the grand list shrinking, property revaluation, and the school board looking for an increase in their budget in the four percent range— it’s probably more important than ever for people to get tuned in and involved.
One way to do this is to get to the budget meetings. This is not always possible for many of us, myself included these days.
If you can’t make the meetings then you should try to find other ways to get the details.
I do not know if the budget details are going to be made available ahead of time on the town website but I’ll make it a point to get them and scan them and get them online myself if necessary.
The meetings themselves are televised on GTV on cable. I believe they are now on Uverse as well. If you are a satellite owner or if you miss the scheduled showings I do provide the meetings online for streaming at http://wallingford.blip.tv/ Dave Moran and the Record Journal report right from the council chambers.
You can also go to the Wallingford Town website and get the minutes of the meetings; they are generally available a week or so after the meetings.
You can get in touch with any of the councilors and ask them for any of the details you might have questions or concerns about. You should consider doing this now, ahead of the budget meetings themselves.
If I can instill in anyone just one thing I would hope that it would be that your voice does matter and it does make a difference. Make sure you’re heard.
It’s easy to not say anything and then later say “see — I’m glad I didn’t waste my time and energy, no one voted the way I thought anyway.” If you don’t offer your comments then the councilors have no way of knowing which way to go other than following their own thoughts on the matter.
They may still do that if they feel passionate about something or if your thoughts and opinions about items are in the minority of what towns people are communicating.
You change that by getting together people with similar opinions and becoming a driving force for change. This cannot be a one item topic like this particular budget or one particular line item in the budget. It has to be a sustained and organized continual effort.
Else, you and others like you become marginalized as another fly by night group of dissenters that are to be dismissed out of hand.
Get informed, get involved and stay engaged.
People like that cannot be ignored.