Some people say if you want to continue to enjoy eating sausage, avoid watching it being made. 

The same could be said for local budgets, in which our elected officials as well as paid staff gather for intensive discussions, knowing that money is limited but community needs are many.

With unlimited budgets, we wouldn’t have to worry about substandard streets, housing concerns, needed repairs and so many things that would benefit our students in the classroom.

In the real world, unless you have a benefactor like Daddy Warbucks or Bill Gates, funding is always limited. 

With that in mind, our community and school leaders must prioritize and decide which needs are addressed first, and which might have to wait a while — sometimes a long while.

It’s not an easy task, but it’s among the most important things our county commissioners, city councils and school boards will do.

It takes food to give a person the energy to think and act, fuel for a vehicle to move to its intended location and money to make our communities and schools function and thrive.

I’ve sat in on a small portion of budget discussions for some of our local governments and gotten a bigger picture of local needs at a county budget workshop that lasted much of the day on Friday, Aug. 30.

One of the things I couldn’t help thinking about was all the other things I could be getting done while the budget meeting went on and on, and I know the elected officials and also staff members and/or hired consultants could be doing other things as well.

But the budget process is an important one that will affect everyone who lives in the community, and even visitors who drive down city streets or enjoy the amenities of our parks or school facilities.

The budget process may be a long and arduous one, but it’s also vital to keeping our communities going.

It’s also sometimes a thankless task — and one which people enjoying the fruits of life in our communities may not often recognize.

At budget and tax hearings I’ve covered for local newspapers throughout the years, often no one shows up to voice their thoughts. And if they do, it is most often to raise a concern or voice a complaint.

It’s fun to enjoy all the great things that our county, city and school budgets provide, but being able to sit through a very small portion of the process, I have a great appreciation for everyone who puts those budgets together and makes them work.

In the coming weeks, our local budgets will be adopted by county, city and school district leaders.

Some of this information is available online, and other information is available by contacting your local government offices for those who might be interested.

These budgets go a long way in determining what is done in our communities, along with major donations from local businesses.

You might not have even thought about it, but next time you see a city council member, school board member, county commissioner/judge or local leader, you might want to offer a word of thanks for the efforts they make so that we can all benefit.

It’s not an easy task to make these budgets work, but without them, our communities wouldn’t work well at all.

Jeff Osborne is the editor of The Progress. A Texan since 1973, he has worked for Texas newspapers for 25 years.