Whilst spring might’ve sprung, and the grass riz, things in our little corner of the universe seem to be in as big an upheaval as ever, honey chile. Last week saw things in this burg go from ugly to downright gross. And, it all has to do with the finances of this town, the same way it’s been since Reagan’s second term. Things don’t ever seem like they’re gonna git right, and after last week, a body’s got the right to wonder.
Effen yew ain’t hoid, the foist and second victims of the city’s lack of cash fell in order. The Savin Rock Festival, which began in the 1980s has been canceled this go-round because the city can’t afford the overtime that is needed with the members of the constabulary and the Dept. of Public Works. The fest has been threatened before, but was always able to be saved. This time, it’s a definite, and no kopecks can be found to keep it going.
The pessimist in me sez that the festival is dead and gone, and will never be again. I hope Iyam wrong, but unless a private committee takes this over, and funds can be found, I don’t think it’ll ever be again. The wag was in t’other afternoon and had an interestin’ idea, witch I will share with you.
It’s his contention the Festival should be taken over by the Savin Rock Fireworks Committee, and made into one event. The fireworks could move to the weekend closest to the Fourth and the Festival can be pushed up two weeks to the earlier weekend. Right now, it’s the last weekend of July, but it wasn’t set in Holy Writ that it should be that way.
The festival was originally a committee of the Chamber of Commerce, and it did the fundraising for that event in the early days. The city took it over, and there was some angst about that. Maybe it’s time to put it back in private hands, and let city people take care of it. Jest a thought, but methinks it’s a good one.
The committee can be expanded and maybe the Chamber brought back into it. Funding can happen and sponsors sought. The city can bill the committees for the expenses within reason as far as over and above what the city puts out now on an average weekend.
The second thing that happened came in the newspapers and was filled in with details by Sammy Bluejay, who was perched outside. The City Council spent hours and hours trying to figger out what to do with the budget, but in the end, they didn’t pass a budget ordinance for the second year in a row. Sammy sez there was a lotta discussion, but when push came to shove, nothing happened.
Of course, that means that the mayor’s budget goes into effect with no changes, and it probably means that the Municipal Accountability Review Board (MARB) is gonna take over tighter reins on the city’s pocketbook and day-to-day running. It’s gonna be Back to the Future for residents as we’ll be back to 1991-1994, when the state review board ran the city.
By not coming to an agreement, the City Council became a toothless tabby, having exactly no ability to do anything outside pass ordinances or resolutions. Anything, however, that has to do with money will be the exclusive purview of the MARB. It also might mean that MARB will open up existing contracts and be the bargaining agent for new ones.
The MARB threatened that effen the city didn’t git its act together it will be moved from Tier 3 status to Tier 4. That ain’t a promotion. That jest gives the bored more authority over us. It’s a sad state of affairs and probably means that people can’t take too much comfort in the fack that the mill rate is now the same as the current budget. One of the things the MARB wanted to see was a tax increase, and, if necessary, by a supplemental tax. I would say that possibility is a perty good bet about now. Effen that happens, watch the For Sale signs sprout up like toadstools around the burg. People will git out whilst the getting is bad and before it gits worse.
It’s gonna take more than a high-end shopping center to git us outta this mess.
Meanwhile, Nelly Nuthatch sez that topic number one on the Charter Revisions Commish might be revising how the said budget gits passed. As yew know and as I’ve told yew before, currently it takes nine votes of the 13 members on the City Council to pass a revision of the mayor’s budget. That has been quite a hurdle over the past several decades, especially the last two. It was meant that way.
Tennyrate, one proposal put forth not only by Chairman of the Council Ron Quagliani, but the mayor herself, is making it a simple majority. That will make needed changes a bit easier, they figger. It’s been something that has been talked about before, but not moved on.
Everyone thinks the budget process is a bit arcane and needs some speeding up and they also think the dates should be moved so that the budget is in place AFTER the state passes its own spending plan. Too often, we hafta pass things not knowing what Hartfor is gonna do. It’s mess last year made a bigger mess for us this year.
So, don’t be surprised effen the foist proposals to come outta the commish hafta do with that.
Iva Lootey sez that our idea about getting rid of the coordinators in the school system to save a million kopecks not only is gaining some traction, it’s being investigated. Some people are lookin’ into whether school systems the size of our little Asylum by the Sea are getting rid of middle management. Who thought li’l ole us will start a big movement like that.
Yup, getting ride of higher-ups rather than teachers is a better idea when the work can be divvied out to others. I know that the idea is being talked about cuz we got a call from one coordinator a few weeks ago. Let’s jest say that tongues are wagging as they do.
We shall see if this story “has legs.” Some parents are interested and now people are looking into whether it’s tried elsewhere. It’ll be interesting to see what happens.
We got a missive this week from an interested senior that wants the city to convert the Savin Rock Conference Center into a citywide senior center. Madame Olga looked into her crystal to see effen that idea will fly, and she tells Cobina the chances are slim to none. Foist off, the city wants to unload the operation of the building to some private concern so it can collect rent, and next, it don’t think money from Hartford will be forthcoming anytime soon to run setch a place.
The fack that the city wants to get rid of the operation and take it off the books means they ain’t gonna look for another way to keep it on the books. Nope, as much as our letter writer has a nice idea, it won’t go anywhere cuz it means the city will hafta do exactly what it don’t want to do: keep operational control.
With that bit o’ chatter,I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,