Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Boning Up on the Budget

Perusing budgets, particularly the labyrinthine, detailed budgets of large businesses or government entities is hardly anyones' idea of a good time. But, that doesn't mean that, on occassion, it doesn't have to be done. At over $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2006, there's a lot to investigate in the County's books.

Have you ever wondered where your property taxes, fees, and local income taxes go after they've entered the County's coffers? While it may be tempting to respond, "down the drain", that answer is only partially correct. Only .03% of those funds went to the Department of Public Works ($32.7 million), literally down the drains, while a far smaller percentage went down the figurative drains to fund the Office of the County Executive and the Department of Planning and Zoning ($3.8 million and $8.5 million, respectively).

But seriously, did you realize that 46% of County expenditures go to fund the public school system and Community College? "Public safety" (police, fire, and detention facilities) makes up another 19% of the budget. "Human services", which includes the Deparments of Aging, Parks and Recreation, Health, and Social Services, makes up another 8%.

Future columns will be dedicated to a more in-depth exploration of the budget. In the meantime, I invite you to do some exploring of your own.

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