I was at the Library this afternoon researching a subject. Â As usually is the case, I ended up loosing my focus and found much more than the subject I am looking for. Â In July 1975, Â then Fort Wayne Mayor Ivan Lebamoff wrote a series of four articles for the local papers laying out in detail the city’s 1976 budget.
In the July 3, 1976 Journal Gazette, Mayor Lebamoff laid out some alternatives for balancing the budget. Â At the bottom of the article is the above coupon which asks citizens to rank 6 alternatives – 5 suggested and one left open for the citizen’s suggestion. Â Lebamoff went on to remind citizens that the budget process is a joint process between government and citizens.
The reason I mention this is for the simple fact it is a reminder of how far we have come when interacting with our government. Â Last year, the Henry Administration engaged the citizens in a series of face to face meetings. Â (Let me just say that the articles I viewed this afternoon gave no indication of whether or not public meetings had been held. Â I also can guess that other Administrations have held public meetings as well.) Â During the meetings, citizens were asked to prioritize certain city services. Â On-line, citizens were allowed to examine the Police Department’s budget and submit comments and suggestions. Â The Henry Administration could also be reached by phone or email. Â All of this, a far cry from a newspaper ballot.