Unsung Heroes #277

It’s March!

And while to you that may mean college basketball Madness, a few last ski runs or putting off doing taxes, for a few dozen Westporters it means something else.

It’s budget season.

Departments, offices, boards, commissions, committees and agencies big (Education, Public Works, Police, Fire, Parks & Rec) and small (Transit District, Tree Board) have submitted requests for the next fiscal year.

They’ve spent months preparing numbers. Now they must justify them.

Over the next several weeks, members of the Board of Finance will analyze each budget thoroughly. They go line by line, dollar by dollar. They ask questions, large and small. They’re respectful, but firm.

One look at the 2021 town budget …

Sometimes they vote to accept a budget as submitted. Sometimes they cut. They have never — as far as I know — said to any department head, “Hey, you deserve more!”

Then the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) wades in. They’ve got their own questions, and they’re not shy about asking them.

It’s tough, tedious, mind-numbing work. But someone has to do it. I’m glad it’s not me.

… and another. 

I’m not sure anyone has ever thanked our Board of Finance and RTM for the job they do every spring.

It’s part of their job, sure. They knew it was coming, when they ran for office.

But today, “06880” thanks those few dozen men and women for spending all those hours poring over spreadsheets, and all those evenings holding meetings and weighing options.

And the next time you look at your tax bill — especially as you compare it to friends and relatives elsewhere in the tri-state area — you should thank them too.

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