Santa Cruz's government officials are reaching out to the community to participate in their annual budget hearings. It's always the irony -- budget hearings are the most important thing the city does all year, but they also are sparsely attended.
Admittedly, budgets and finances can be hard to understand. And that's why the city is going the extra mile to conduct a "City Budget 101."
It's a 90-minute workshop starting at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Police Department Community Room on Center Street near Laurel Street. The session will explain the budget process and will feature a q&a with Mayor Ryan Coonerty, Vice Mayor Don Lane, City Manager Martin Bernal and Finance Director Jack Dilles.
You have to give credit both to the city and to the Santa Cruz Neighbors Association, which is spreading the word.
A statement from the city says it well:
"Clearly, budget choices matter. Yet very few residents actually participate in City Council meetings related to the adoption of the annual budget. Some members of the City Council believe a key reason for lack of participation on the budget adoption is that few people understand how the city budget works and what issues are at stake."
Call it a step forward for open government. Let's see if the public responds.