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PUBLIC SHUNNED? Boone County Commission debates budget during holidays

9:30 am and 1:30 pm workday meetings over holiday season discourage public involvement
 
COLUMBIA, 1/3/11  (Beat Byte) -- If you blinked over the holiday weeks, you probably missed it:  the supposedly public process by which Boone County adopted its $56.9 million 2012 budget
 
“The county budget is comprised of thousands of moving parts,” Boone County Auditor June Pitchford said in SeptemberSo why is it debated when no one is around? 
 
The County Commission added insult to injury this year by aggravating its already unfortunate habit of holding public hearings smack in the middle of the workday.   Next year's budget has been debated almost entirely during the holiday season, when thousands of people are out of town. 
 
Either disinterested or simply ignorant of the demands working people face, Commissioners even ran public hearing notices on Christmas Day. 
 

And yet, if anyone gripes later on about the budget -- which this year included debate over employee pay raises and other potentially controversial items -- Commissioners will doubtless retort -- as they have so many times in the past:  

"We held public hearings and nobody showed up!" 

ShowMeBoone my foot!  HideMeBoone is more like it.  

Commissioners need to start holding hearings when the public can actually attend, and they need to stop the practice of critical debates during the holidays
 
Boone County budget hearing announcements
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