While many people are busy with holiday shopping, baking and getting the snow off their cars, there is a dedicated group of elected citizens who are toiling diligently on budgeting issues in advance of Town Meeting next March.

Town budgets are being formulated. Fire department and library budgets are being put together. Planning commission budgets and the Mad River Valley Planning District budget are being drafted.

And, very importantly, school budgets are being crafted as well as the budget for the Washington West Supervisory Union. While voters do not get to vote directly on the supervisory union budget, they can have input into that budget by contacting their representatives to the Washington West executive committee.

Voters have a direct say on all those other budgets by participating in Town Meeting and voting either from the floor or via Australian ballot.

But for people who feel strongly about how our towns and school boards spend our tax dollars, it doesn't make sense to wait until Town Meeting to weigh in on the budgets.

This budgeting work takes place in open meetings where members of the public could participate and chime in, should they choose to. Too often budget-makers work on their own without the benefit of public input to guide them.

Thankfully, they take the issue of spending public funds seriously and strive to be as frugal as possible while continuing to provide appropriate services and education, etc. But public input couldn't hurt the process or the end product.

Feel strongly about sidewalks? Concerned about the impact of federal and state mandates on education spending? Worried about town infrastructure such as roads and the roof of the fire department? Want more new books at the library? Faster internet service at the library? A new fire truck? If so, weigh in now while the budget work is taking place.

It's your opportunity as well as a responsibility.