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Follow the Money

By Tip JohnsonOn Oct 27, 2016
Follow the money

Everyone likes to know how their money is being spent. Right? Furthermore, informed citizens are essential to our democracy.

The Council Agenda/Packet for 10/24/2016 includes a list of capital projects by fund for the 2017-18 biennium.

Unfortunately, yesterday the link was
While today it is
(see pp33(38) - 40(45) - where the first number is the paginated number and the parenthetical number is the file page)

Try them out. If they keep moving things around, you may need to go to the cob.org page for the council meeting documents.

The list of capital projects - if you can find it - lists each project’s respective funding source by fund number.

A list of the various funds and changes within them can be found in the 2017-18 preliminary budget on page 16, so you can see where these projects are getting their juice.

Now, to put things in perspective, you can look back to the 2015-16 preliminary budget. This is a bit easier to read because it is somewhat stripped down for review.

But it’s good to check with the adopted version before spouting off.

Now, check out the preliminary 2017-18 budget. Take your time. You can check salaries, FTEs, see some recent history and get the individual fund budgets and lots more.

This is intended as just a little FYI, so you can carry out your civic missions armed with the knowledge you need to sound sensible. If you want to dig in, go to the Finance Department’s Budget page.

Not sure what’s up with the changing urls, but often you can just google it, too. Now, good luck and get busy!

About Tip Johnson

Writers • Member since Jan 11, 2008

Tip Johnson is a longtime citizen interest advocate with a record of public achievement projects for good government and the environment. A lifelong student of government, Tip served two terms on the Bellingham City Council and has worked on many community boards and committees. He travelled with the Federal Transit Administration and Department of Commerce on mass transit trade missions in SE Asia and Africa before settling down to focus on keeping public interests at the fore of local government and the course of growth and development.


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