A "scientific guess" is how Randolph County Commission President Mike Taylor defines the process of estimating expenses for the coming year's budget. While his description is right on target, it also sheds some light on the responsibility government leaders take when deciding how to distribute public funds.
Having an idea of how much money is coming in is the easy part. Trying to determine how much will go out is a whole different story. With that comes a lot of planning, consideration of variable factors and the inclusion of a safety net for the unknown.
Taylor cited future gasoline prices as an example of what often has to be "guessed." In this case, a higher-than-anticipated amount was used to cover potential costs. In the event all of that money isn't needed, it will go back into the following year's budget.
The commission hopes to avoid raising taxes and still fund as many agencies and organizations as possible, while maintaining the county's fiscal health, Taylor said. Yes, these decisions are difficult, and sometimes can be unpopular.
What's important is that the people in charge of taxpayers' money maintain trust by not overspending. Luckily, in Randolph County that responsibility is taken seriously, and the county doesn't spend what it doesn't have. Residents should keep that in mind as they follow budget proceedings.