Get involved in city’s capital planning process

We know. Municipal budgeting can be mind-numbingly boring.

Revenues, expenses, interest, funding ratios, fund equity, assets, liabilities, line items … It can test the mental endurance of almost anybody.

But, just as it does in your own household budget, the ways in which governments spend their money tells us what their priorities are, which investments are important to them.

Next month, the Alpena Municipal Council and the city Planning Commission will meet to hear proposals from city department heads about the things they would like the city to spend its money on.

It’s part of the city’s Capital Improvement Plan, which establishes priorities for the kinds of infrastructure improvements and big-ticket purches officials would like to see happen over the next six years. It is a living document, subject to change as budgets become clearer year after year and priorities change with new events.

There are certain things a city is expected to do — plow snow, keep water running, man a police force. The Capital Improvement Plan are the items that go beyond that, the bigger investments that are meant to make the city a better place.

We encourage each and every reader to reach out to the city, tell them what you think the priorities should be over the next few years. The city’s budget is like one big household tally sheet, and we should have a say in how it shakes out.