Like a Lion

It is that time of year. March comes in like a lion and with its roar it brings the impending budget season. For those that must present a balanced budget to the masses, with or without the dreaded property tax increase, it is a harrowing time of year. Added to the normal stress of crunching the numbers, we have a plethora of new County Commissioners, a new County Mayor and a new Director of Schools. That means a budget committee, which is charged, along with the Director of Finance, filled to the brim with new faces and opinions. The unfortunate part of new opinions is that they often come uninformed, which makes the budget process extremely difficult. It is great when someone has some knowledge that they can bring to the table but you have to be careful that the knowledge is relevant to the situation. County budgets look much different than personal budgets and education budgets are a whole another type of beast.

I wish the budget committee well as they embark on their endeavor and I hope that they keep a few things in mind as they begin decision making. While not all things are created equal, the truth is that most non profits are created equal, meaning that they all benefit someone and in the world of tax payer funding every someone is equal. I know that makes for some kind of quandary for those deciding if and who to fund but that is the bottom line. One non profit is not more deserving than the other and when we put all of dollars in one basket it gives the impression that one is more worthy and there fore the section of the public that they support is more worthy. And then there is the process of crunching the numbers. It helps if you actually bring a calculator to the meeting to give the appearance that you are actively involved in the process, especially if you have a vote on the matter. Of course, it cannot be overstated that there is always the option of relying on the professionals (see Director of Finance) when in doubt. That’s what they do in many multi million dollar companies and it appears to work.

So, beware the Ides of March and beware budget season. Both can come with some less than wonderful surprises and both can shine the light on those that may have more than a balanced budget on their agenda. Perhaps, like March, the budget season will come in like a lion and go out like a lamb. We can only hope that it is not a lamb being prepared for the slaughter. Time will, without a doubt, tell the tell.

Source: Kristen Depew