The days are ticking by until election day and no sitting Lewis County Legislators have taken a position on what the Lewis County Budget should look like. Horror stories are emanating from the bowels of the Court House on the size of an alleged budget deficit for this year that will only compound the difficulty of the already difficult budget making efforts that are now under way for next year. From the Board of Legislators we have only silence.
Past practice for budget making was weeks of Legislative meetings, usually with the Legislators meeting as a "Committee of the Whole" to discuss the size and scope of the budget as well as budget priorities. These meetings were open to the public and the budget cards were on the table.
It would appear that this budget year is going to be extremely nasty and with a number of Legislators facing competition the budget process is hidden in the County Manager's office.
Reportedly, even the CountyTreasurer has been told not to talk to the public about the process, to the extent she knows about it.
This is unacceptable. Voters and taxpayers have the right to know and need to know their elected officials thoughts on the budget, especially in a year where the process has reached a critical stage. There is no excuse for any elected official going along with the silence and hiding that is taking place. If a Legislator doesn't know where the budget stands, they have the right and the responsibility to demand answers. Shame on those that remain silent, either because of cynical political posturing or out of cowardice, and in this case, ignorance isn't bliss.
It looks like the Board of Legislators has a belated Halloween gift planned for taxpayers after election day and "it ain't gonna be no treat".