Municipal elections will be taking place on Tuesday and we encourage all eligible voters to take the time to make their choices known. Too many people focus only on the high profile elections, but it is at the local level that government has the most impact on our day to day lives.

There are three elections to be decided for the Cullman City School Board. Whoever is elected for these seats will be setting policy for the school system for the next four years. Among the decisions the board will have to make is how to fund a five-year plan that includes building a new $60 million school by 2023. Also, there are likely to be continued challenges related to the novel coronavirus. These are big decisions facing the incoming board members, and what they decide will impact all Cullman city residents.

The municipalities will soon be setting their budgets for the upcoming fiscal year, so the candidates who win on Tuesday will be jumping right into deciding how to prioritize spending and balancing their budgets. These decisions directly impact the taxpayers in each municipality and the people who visit or work there.

Local leaders may not be solving the peace crisis in the Middle East, but they are making decisions that affect all of us, every day. Things like: what types of development will be allowed and where it can go; which roads get paved; business regulations; the number and quality of police and fire fighters protecting our cities and towns; what grants to go after to add to our quality of life.

The candidates for office have been out there making their case to voters. If you don’t know who to vote for, talk to some friends and others you respect to get their perspective. You may think your vote doesn’t matter; but at this level, every vote counts and can make the absolute difference in an election.

We thank the candidates for their willingness to put their names on the ballot. Public service is often a thankless job, and what mayors and council members earn for their service is much less than than the hours and effort they put into it. Even for those who don’t win on Tuesday, the mere fact that they were willing to do so and that they put forth a vision for the future of their communities is to be commended.

We remind all the candidates that on Tuesday, you are a candidate. But once the election is decided, you become a member of a governing body, answerable to the people and subject to open government laws. Transparency can sometimes be uncomfortable, but it is vital to our democracy.

Voting is a basic tenet of our form of government. It’s a right we have fought for since the birth of this nation, and we would be foolish to throw away that birthright. If you are eligible to vote in an election on Tuesday, we encourage you to do so.

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