Editorial: Budget workshops should be well attended

Now is your opportunity.

A Forum commenter recently said, "I bet the money from that huge windfall that Whitfield County got is already burning a hole in their pockets. Let's see what they blow it on next."

That followed the news that Whitfield County government recently received $817,643.18 of unanticipated LOST (Local Option Sales Tax) monies from the state after it was determined that an unidentified firm with a statewide presence had used software that sent sales tax revenue that should have been marked for local governments to the state.

Also, the county received some $1.3 million in 2015 Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) money that will be split evenly between the county and the city of Dalton under the terms of the SPLOST agreement.

County Board of Commissioners Chairman Lynn Laughter said because the county only recently received that money, commissioners have not decided what they will do with it. Here's your opportunity to perhaps witness those discussions and other budget considerations when the county holds three 2021 budget workshops in the next nine days that are open to you, members of the public. So if you are a frequent critic of the county commissioners and how they spend your taxpayer dollars -- as many of our Forum commenters are -- or if you just want to see how they determine county spending priorities, this is the time to show up at these workshops, learn what the commissioners have in mind, and then you will be better able to discuss that spending with them in an informed way, which is the best way.

Plus, it's good to let our elected officials know we are watching them, that their decisions have real-life consequences for real people.

We've made it easy for you, both in our Community Calendar and here, by listing the workshops (all are in the Wells Fargo building, fifth floor, in the large conference room, at 201 S. Hamilton St.):

• This Thursday, at 5:30 p.m.

• Tuesday, Oct. 20, at 5:30 p.m.

• Thursday, Oct. 22, at 5:30 p.m.

We strongly encourage you to attend one or all of these workshops if you can to not only see government in action but to hold your elected officials, in this case the county commissioners, accountable. And if you believe that they are doing a good job of being stewards of the county's money, then let them and the Forum know that also.

Government should be a participation, not a spectator, sport. Here is your opportunity to participate. Please take advantage of it.

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