Responsible budgeting in county government means planning for both the long and short term and recognizing how to spend in ways that pay off for the community. The Blaine County Commissioners have been balancing that for years in order to deliver services to citizens. This includes paying county employees a fair and competitive wage to maintain investments in training and keep their experience at work for taxpayers.

 As a former commissioner, I know that Blaine County’s budget process is transparent, deliberative and open—and citizens are welcome within the process through public comment. It takes a majority of the commission to pass the county budget. No one commissioner rules the process.

Based on past salary surveys, Blaine County pays commissioners on par with other resort communities like ours and those expenditures are part of the same open process as all other county budget items. It’s a fair question to ask if we are paying our commissioners, or any public employee, the right amount. It’s also important to take into consideration the long hours and hard work from public officials and attract candidates with the best experience for the job. Poor pay will simply limit us to elected officials who are independently wealthy or retired.

We’ve seen firsthand this year how critical it is to have calm, experienced leadership in Blaine County during the pandemic. I’m glad we have Jacob Greenberg as the chair of the Blaine County Commission and I am confident we are receiving the benefits of his steady leadership.

Tom Bowman, Ketchum

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