It’s Budget Time

Many people who have read this paper will take notice that there is one thing on city council’s mind right now: the budget. Every year, the city crafts a budget by which the City of Clinton will operate for the next fiscal year. Utilities, Administration, and Public Safety, amongst many other things, are planned out for the next fiscal year in our budget. City council’s greatest responsibility is to approve a budget that reflects the needs of our city and its citizens. It is the job of city council during this process to consider what the needs of our growing city are, and to always be good stewards of the money and trust that have been given to us by our citizens. This paper has wondered why it has taken city council longer to approve next year’s budget than it has in years past. It’s simple: for the first time that I can remember in my time serving on council, our council members have joined me in taking a keen interest in, not only understanding the budget, but also ensuring that it is the best possible deal for our citizens. This process is not something that we take lightly on council, but requires careful consideration of the impact it will have on our city. The fact that the first reading of the budget was voted down 5-2 in April, and then passed 5-2 in May is not necessarily a bad thing, but shows that council has done their homework and has a better understanding of the legislation in front of them. I commend council on their diligent work in this process so far, showing that they are a strong voice for the constituents they represent. Much has been written in this paper—even in letters to the editor—about the proposed budget, which also shows that our community is interested. However, it is a shame that our proposed budget is not available online for our citizens to do their own evaluation and homework. Our next meeting in June will not only involve the second reading, but also a public hearing of the proposed budget. Council will have the opportunity to make changes to the budget one last time, but citizens will also have the opportunity to provide their input on the budget during the public hearing portion of our meeting. But this is hard for our citizens to do when our budget cannot currently be found on our city’s website. How can we expect citizens to participate in our public hearing when they don’t have access to what we are having the public hearing on? I am completely in favor of transparency. The taxpayers should have access to all legislation before, during, and after it comes to council. I hope that in the next fiscal year, the budget will be available online for our citizens to view. As Mayor, I am pleased that our council has not rubber stamped this year’s budget, but has taken a real interest in ensuring that we pass the best budget possible for the City of Clinton. You, the people, work hard every day to provide for your family, and I strongly believe that government should work just as hard as you do. I do not have a crystal ball, but I can almost certainly guarantee that council will tweak the budget as it has been presented to council at our June meeting. Lastly, if you have any questions concerning our budget, please feel free to contact me, or ANY of our council members. I can promise you that this council is committed to providing our citizens with the best possible budget for the City of Clinton. (Bob McLean is mayor of Clinton.)

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P.O. Box 180
513 North Broad St.
Clinton, SC 29325
Phone: (864) 833-1900
Fax: (864) 833-1902

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