Editorial: Now’s the time

The past few weeks have seen lots of comments at meetings, in newspapers, online, email exchanges, and doubtless private conversations about the proposed town and school budgets and the public hearings that will be held next week.

The school budget will be presented by the Board of Education Monday, March 28, while the municipal budget, also known as the selectmen’s budget, will be presented Tuesday, March 29. Both public hearings take place in the auditorium of Middlebrook School beginning at 7:30 p.m.

After the presentations, comments and questions will be taken from members of the public who attend. Those who cannot attend may view the school budget hearing on Channel 78 on Monday. Tuesday’s hearing will be recorded and shown on the town website on Wednesday.

But it is important for people to attend in person. Past years have found only a handful of people at each hearing and fewer speaking up.

The municipal budget shows a 0.05% decrease over the previous year — tiny, to be sure, but a decrease nonetheless.

The school budget shows a 1.27% increase. Too much, according to some, in the face of declining enrollment. Perhaps not enough, to others, who feel class sizes are too big or programs are being cut. Whatever your thoughts, it is far better to voice them now than to wait until the Annual Town Meeting and adjourned vote in May.

Town officials are understandably frustrated when they do not receive enough comments to guide the budget formation process. This is your opportunity.

Let ’em have it!