Off the Editor’s Desk – 3-1-2017

Public Notices!

How many of you folks look at this newspaper and read the public notices that are published by your local units of government? Those units of government, like your local township, village, city, county and school districts, are required by state law to inform the public about things like elections, meetings, ordinances, financial statements, budgets and proceedings, which are the minutes of their meetings.

These laws are designed to keep the public informed about the activities of your local governing bodies. One of the items off that list is the financial statements and budgeting, which affects how much it is going to cost to keep that unit of government running for the next year. Local governing bodies usually set their budget late in the fall for the coming year, with school districts holding a budget hearing as part of the annual meeting. School district boards finalize their budgets in October, as does most other units of government. At that time they set what the amount of money they need to raise off the property taxes to support the operations of the township, village, city, county and school for the coming year.

It is at this time of the budget creation that the public should be aware of what their government is proposing to spend. It is this time of year when it is decided what amount will go on the local property tax roll and what you are going to have to pay in property taxes come January. This is the time that the public has an opportunity to voice their concern or support of the proposed budget.

Get involved, look for those notices in this newspaper, and be informed. Don’t wait until you get that property tax notice in December to question, “Why did my taxes go up ten percent?”.  Compare during the budget process what your unit of government spent during the current year and what they are proposing for the coming year. Find out why it is more or less and what they are doing with your tax dollars. Don’t wait until January to complain to the local clerks when you pay your tax bill.

The reason that I bring this up at this time is that in the State of Wisconsin, there are bills in the Assembly and Senate and the governor’s budget that would remove part of the public notice requirements that involves laws, ordinances, resolutions, financial statements, budgets and proceedings that are intended to give notice to the public as to what is being proposed at your local government level. Election notices will still need to be published under the proposal.

If you noticed, last week we published an advertisement about contacting your local state Representative, Senator and the Governor about this proposal and to keep those notices running that inform the population of what is happening at the local level. Please help us keep you informed.

Thanks for reading!       ~Carlton