All across the area, county and city governments are drawing the budget for the next fiscal year, but compensating for a growing population and higher fuel prices is making that job more challenging than ever.
"You have to balance the here and now versus how much you can spend in the future," says Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum.
Grayson County Judge Drue Bynum says planning ahead is essential to putting together a budget, especially with fluctuating gas prices.
"It’s very hard to budget for what in the world is fuel going to do in the next year."
But prioritizing is even more important, which is why coming up with a budget isn't so easy.
"That’s always the tough part about it, how do you tell one organization with the county that you're not as high priority as the other."
Grayson County officials say they estimate their budget to be around $50 million for 2008. While prioritizing is not easy, officials say they have an idea of what a growing county needs.
"We’ve got to maintain a quality of life and I think law enforcement is a good place to start."
Other cities in the area like Durant appear to be on the same page as Grayson County. They have budgeted for new police cars instead of fixing them, trading the old for the new for a rapidly growing population.
Over the next three months, Grayson County will work on the budget and ask for input from the public along the way, but Durant city manager Jim Dunegan says as long as governments plan ahead, appeasing residents shouldn't be a problem.
"I’ve learned down through the years that if you want to get things done, make a plan and stick by that plan, and you'll get there.”
Grayson County leaders are scheduled to meet tomorrow afternoon and begin to set priorities among county departments.
They hope to have the budget completed by the beginning of September.
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