Over 60 members of the public came to learn about the relationship between state and county funding and to give input about which programs should be prioritized for funding by the county in the event of deeper state budget reductions. The forum took place on Thursday night, March 3rd.
The event kicked off with introductions by CIC Chair Brad McLean and County Chair Jeff Cogen. Economist Mike Jaspin from the County Budget Office then provided an overview of how state funding reductions would affect the county and its budget decisions. County Chief Operating Officer Joanne Fuller, District Attorney Michael Shrunk, Sheriff Dan Staton, Community Justice Director Scott Taylor subsequently discussed how particular state reductions could affect specific county programs and services.
From there forum attendees broke into small groups where facilitators led them in discussions about which county programs were most important to them and program features that they valued the most. Each discussion group then reported out to the larger group which services and features were most important. County officials also responded to questions and comments raised by the discussion groups.
Public input ranged from prioritizing continued funding of SUN Schools to ensuring that roads and bridges managed by the County are funded. The input was analyzed and its conclusions were presented in a report that was submitted to the Board of County Commissioners and other county officials. The report is posted below for you to review.
You can also watch videos of the budget forum below! The first video covers the introduction to the forum by CIC Chair Brad McLean and the presentations of county officials. The second video includes the discussion group report outs and the responses by county officials.
If you were unable to attend the budget forum you still have other options to contribute your input and affect budget decisions. An online survey with a short video of the forum's highlights is now posted where you can submit your suggestions about funding priorities. The Board of County Commissioners will also hold several public hearings in May and June where citizens can offer testimony to the Board after Chair Cogen's initial budget is released.
Thank you to all program speakers, facilitators, and CIC members who helped make the forum a success!!