Very few citizens have a good understanding of their local government’s budget. While many municipalities put their budgets on-line, they often consist of hundreds of hard to understand pages of numbers.

Erie County New York’s operating budget is 405 pages long. The summary of the budget released by the County Executive, which is informative runs 70 pages long. In an effort to distill the information down further to increase public understanding of the budget Erie County Comptroller Stefan Mychajliw has created an 8 page summary of the budget which provides a nice overview for citizens.

The Government Finance Officers Association encourages the creation of reports designed to be readily accessible and easily understandable to the general public and other interested parties without a background in public finance. Their web site contains helpful information on how to prepare a similar budget summary in your community.

About The Author

The definition of reinvent is:to replace with an entirely new version, to make over completely, to recast something familiar or old into a different form.In my opinion we need to reinvent government, business and ourselves. Today’s world is about constant change driven by the power of new ideas.For the past 17 years as an attorney, I have worked in government at the county, city, authority and school district level in the Buffalo, NY area. I have seen first hand the need for reinventing how government operates. For a period of four years, I served as Chief of Staff to the 9 member City of Buffalo Common Council. Government must engage the talents and skills of its citizens by becoming more collaborative and transparent in its decision-making and operations. Utilizing technology as a tool to engage citizens is something all governments need to explore.I have great respect for entrepreneurs as they put their passion into a vision, which results in new products, new services and new jobs. Entrepreneurs are on the front lines of change. As an adjunct college instructor, I see how students and everyone for that matter must continually change and reinvent themselves to survive and be successful in today’s crazy world economy.Some of my favorite change agent writers are Tom Peters, Seth Godin, Gary Hamel and Guy Kawasaki. I welcome the opportunity to meet new people, to further my own learning and to share ideas.On a personal note I am 47 years old, my other half Cheryl is an attorney in private practice and together we have three children, Michael age 20 and Joseph age 14 and our newest shock of an addition Julia, born 11/2/11.