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.