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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Gazette Editorial: Be heard at county’s budget hearing Tues.

Attending budget hearings is not anyone’s idea of a good time, what with the drone of numbers and the repetitive questions and responses, but citizens owe it to themselves and their communities to attend them.

Otherwise, they have no grounds for complaint when they receive their tax bills or are belatedly dismayed by the over- or under-funding of a particular department or program.

That’s why the public’s presence at the May 7 hearing in Snow Hill on the Worcester County Commissioners’ budget is not just a civic duty, it is essential to the community’s well-being.

This is especially true for people who believe that the county’s public school system can’t endure another year of financial punishment by an our-way-or-the-highway commissioner majority.

The school system’s $109 million budget, not including payments on debt, is the biggest portion of the county’s proposed $270 million in expenditures, which is about $10 million more than the commissioners expect in revenue.

How the commissioners make up for that variance is the critical consideration in next Tuesday’s hearing, and why supporters of public education need to speak up.

To do that, they can attend in person — maybe, given the commissioners’ decision to move the hearing from its usual venue in the high school to the much smaller commissioners’ meeting room — or by following online.

Citizen comments and questions will be allowed either way. To find out how to view the livestream of the meeting, see the story on page 26.

Also remember that even though teachers deserved raises and the costs of operations and materials had been increasing rapidly, the commissioner majority last year limited the school system to the minimum funding state law allows.

So, stand up, or sit, and be heard on Tuesday, and don’t let them do it again.