Tuesday, many voters will turnout to cast their ballot motivated by the race for president between Republican Mitt Romney and Democrat Barack Obama. More people head to the polls during a presidential election year than they do during the other election years. What that also means is that more people vote in local elections during those years than in others.
While the presidential race might grab the collective attentions of citizens, it is the local races that carry the real weight that affects our daily lives. City councils and commissions vote on ordinances and resolutions that establish local tax rates; the members establish the rules and regulations for how city departments are operated and how they are funded; they set local laws establishing what is and isn't appropriate within the city limits.
City councils help establish in committee, and in coordination with the mayor, the fiscal budget for their cities. The council as a whole then votes on the budget. Those budgets establish a guideline for projected revenues (taxes and license fees) expected to be collected and projected expenditures. Because city budgets are projections, there are often many changes to the budget during the course of the fiscal year. These changes do not necessarily signify poor budgeting by the council or the mayor. When unexpected revenue or expenditures arise, the budget must be adjusted to reflect the changes.
City council by design is less than a full time job. The intent is the members meet in committees, then recommend what should be reviewed and voted on by the entire council. Basically, the committee establishes ordinances and the whole council (In Glasgow's case, 12 members) vote “Yeah” or “Nay” on the ordinance.
For the full story, read the Nov. 3 print or e-Edition of the Glasgow Daily Times.