New budget process allows more voices to be heard

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 8:44 PM CST
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HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - The budget process for Huntsville is getting an update. The hope is that more voices will be included in the decision-making process.

A new policy will make sure more input is put into the budget. Many budget items have been hot-button issues these past two years, such as how much money goes to things like infrastructure and the police department.

Councilmember Frances Akridge sponsored the change in the city council bylaws. It mandates that the city council meets to discuss the budget before the finance committee puts it together.

Councilmember Bill Kling says he’s had a lot of trouble getting his points in before the financial year comes to a close. “It’ll make the process easier to have upfront so the finance department can be aware of what the council members see as their priorities and a budget document be put together with as much as that as possible and it makes the process a lot smoother.”

City council members will now be able to have a say before the budget is made by the Finance Department and Mayor. Previously they made the budget without city councilmembers’ input.

With added time, elected officials and community members can check and make sure the needs of the city are met. One local neighbor, Chad Chavez, was engaged in the budget process in September. He says this really streamlines having your voice heard.

“As Huntsville continues to get bigger, it’s gonna be more important for us to have relationships with our particular representatives. I think this will give us a new and easier access point of who we need to talk to to make these public work issues a priority. "

This past year the period to discuss the budget was less than a month. That means city council members, engaged citizens and any other interested parties only had a matter of weeks to have their voices heard. This extends it to several months because the work session will be in the summer.

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