Supervisors propose evening budget hearing so public can attend

SAN DIEGO — County Supervisors Nathan Fletcher and Jim Desmond are proposing that the full board hold a budget hearing later this year in the evening to give constituents more opportunity to weigh in.

The Board of Supervisors scuttled plans for an after-hours budget hearing last year after holding similar meetings during the 2016 and 2017 budgeting processes.

Supervisor Greg Cox suggested adding an evening meeting to the board’s schedule last year, but a majority of the board overruled him.

Then-Supervisor Bill Horn allowed that he would be willing to hammer out the budget over two daytime sessions but said “I don’t want to sit here at night.” Multiple supervisors also argued that the county’s online feedback tools were sufficient for residents who couldn’t leave their jobs to attend one of the budget meetings.

Fletcher and Desmond submitted the co-authored proposal Monday and the board is expected to vote on it next week.

“Evenings are the best times for our constituents to engage because many cannot afford to miss time at work during the day to have their voice heard — that’s why many community and neighborhood meetings are held at night,” Fletcher said. “Going forward, I want the county to be more open, more transparent and more engaged with the public we serve.”

The board will discuss and vote on the county’s budget of more than $6 billion in June. Fletcher and Desmond’s suggested a 5:30 p.m. meeting on June 11 in their proposal, but the date and time could change if the board members are not available at that time.

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