Budgets are not boring

In looking through this newspaper’s coverage over the past weeks, much of what wasn’t taken over by the need-to-know details of the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic was information gathered by our reporters on the Northwest Corner towns’ municipal and education budgets. Usually, end-of-school-year events are ubiquitous at this time, so there is plenty of distraction from the seemingly mundane budgetary discussions that are happening. But this year, they stand out as among the few things happening despite the state shutdown due to the pandemic.

And those discussions are just as important as ever to the lives of every town and the entire region. Those who organize them have had the added challenge of arranging Zoom meetings in order to have the selectmen come together and have the communities informed while being unable to gather in person. But they’ve persevered and are doing it. 

We at The Lakeville Journal are glad we are here to report on the way budgets have come together this year throughout the Region One towns. The selectmen are approving both the municipal and education budgets, but are not doing so without public input. Not only did we have reporters joining those meetings, but interested residents were able to take part in public comments by either giving the selectmen their questions before the meeting or taking part at the time of the meeting. 

Thank you to the town leaders who found a way to make these budgetary meetings work. There was no simple way to be sure our towns and schools would continue to be funded through this extraordinary time of coronavirus restrictions to public activity. While having the meetings online excluded the opportunity for some with limited or no internet access to take part, the approach was the best option for the most citizens to have access to the discussions of how their taxes are being spent.

And, this moment is perhaps the best proof of the critical importance of having better internet access for all in the Northwest Corner as a high priority going forward. 

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