How you can easily make a difference in your community

By Bob McChesney | Nov 03, 2011

It might be difficult to find a topic that the average person is less interested in than budgets. For the most part they are difficult to understand and even more difficult to do anything about.

The Port of Edmonds has a budget, too. But ours is different—you can do something about it.

Before I get into how you can make your voice heard, let me explain why you might want to care.

The Port of Edmonds isn’t only for boaters. While there is only a small minority of residents of our community that actually own boats and an even smaller number that moor their boats in our marina, almost everyone uses the Port and for lots of different reasons.

Some come to visit our signature waterfront restaurants, among the best in the Northwest. Others attend the annual Edmonds Waterfront Festival.

The hundreds of walkers who use our mile-long boardwalk and promenade multiply every year.

One of the Port’s major holdings is Harbor Square. Countless people come to the athletic club, the hotel, our two new breweries and the neighboring restaurant, not to mention the 40 or so other businesses located there.

If you own a boat or do any of these things, you need to care about how the Port gets and spends its money. And that means budget.

As the year 2012 approaches, government bodies all over America are finalizing their budgets for next year. And unlike the federal government (which granted itself an exemption), our budgets have to be balanced. In other words our expenditures and our income must come out equal; there is no such thing as deficit financing for us.

In difficult economic times that means state and local governments must find ways to increase revenues (that usually means taxes) or cut expenses (jobs, services and programs), or both.

That, basically, is what a budget is: a roadmap detailing how, in our case, the Port of Edmonds plans to make that balancing act happen.

So how can you do something to affect the Port’s budget? By attending one of our public hearings on it. The law says every government body, including the Port, must have a public hearing on their budget before it is adopted.

The Port of Edmonds doesn’t stop at one hearing; we have three, just to make sure that all viewpoints are heard. One hearing has already occurred, but there are two yet to come.

The next one is November 14, at 7 p.m., in the Port’s meeting room at 336 Admiral Way.

Any last minute changes will be made at that meeting and the Commission will vote on approval.

I urge you to exercise your right and responsibility as a citizen by coming and participating.

You can make a difference, but only if you are there.

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