Before we start with the usual stuff – and boy, is there a lot o’ it this week – we got a message via the papyrus’ website that queried about something that Cobina maybe ain’t explained in a while. The person stated they liked our weekly missives, but were confused as to what the “Actors Colony” was.
I guess, once in a while Cobina should review some o’ her pet names fer things. The Actors Colony was once a little bistro out on Route 34 and was popular until it burned down some time ago. It was a pet name Cobina came up with to describe City Hall and the denizens therein. After all, what are politicos effen they ain’t in the performing arts?
So, I hope that clears it up. When Cobina refers to the Actors Colony, she is particularly setting her sights on 355 Main St., and those who darken its doors on a daily basis.
Sammy Bluejay made sure he was perched outside the aforementioned Actors Colony last week to see what happened with the budget revision confab the City Council and herroner had put together to head off a June 7 deadline imposed by the MARB, or Municipal Accountability Review Board. Say that five times fast, I dare you!
Tennyrate, what with the Memorial Day holiday and setch, things were a bit chaotic leading up to the big event, but I guess those that were supposed to git there did. And that included three members of MARB or its staff, including Bennie Barnes, the chairman of the group.
Sammy told Cobina the three reps from the panel sat through the meeting perty much stone faced unless they were talking. Sammy got the distince impression that they didn’t like the sausage-making that was going on. As yew know legislative meetings are chock full of discussion, parliamentary procedure and arcane stuff. People who sit on boards like MARB don’t hafta go through all the gyrations of legislation, they just do things by diktat.
Sooooo, while things went perty much according to Hoyle, the faces on the stoics in the front didn’t tell much. By the time you git this missive, the MARB will have met for its June confabulation and we’ll know effen it is yay or nay on all the city did last week.
As Sammy pernted out, even though things went well, that don’t mean the people on the review bored ain’t gonna decide the city should be under more state control
The deadline that MARB imposed was to help determine whether the city should be under Tier III or Tier IV control. Currently, we are under Tier III, witch still gives the city some autonomy on matters financial, whilst being under the scrutiny of the state.
But come the June meeting, the members could determine that even though things went well, they would still like to make sure things go especially well, and put the city into Tier IV. That means any and all contracts can get reopened, the MARB can set all tax rates and spending policy, and though the wheels of government will continue to roll, they would be going nowhere – like stationary bike – unless MARB lets it.
Sammy sez that some on the council think that might be where we’re headed cuz of the aforementioned sausage making. It’s a lot cleaner doing things by order.
We shall see, but there are some who will not at all be surprised effen things go from bad to worse.
Meanwhile, the homeowners and taxpayers are gonna haft find deeper pockets or start counting the change in the couch cushions. The mill rate was increased by one and the people in Allingtown are getting clobbered. For the first time the mill rate all over town is gonna be around 50 or above. That means $50 for every thousand dollars of assessed worth on property. That’s when all the fire taxes and motor vehicle taxes are all put in the pot. And, of course, there is the Sewer Use Fee that is a tax, but we can’t call it a tax cuz the feds said it wasn’t a tax. That’s set at $462 a unit.
After the council met in special session to fix the budget, the boys and girls had to meet on other matters in regular session. Nelly Nuthatch said there was a bit of consternation when the $1.4 million tax lien contract came up and it was not acted on by the council. That puts a whole in the budget cuz it was counted as revenue.
The huffing and puffing was jest that, according to Nelly. There are a few things that the council wants worked out before it approves the contrack or goes another route. In one case a lien for $80 was on the list and it was an elderly person, we are told. With all the fees and penalties glommed onto the bill, it would be a bit outrageous, and that was pointed out.
The council don’t care about going after scofflaws, but there is a limit to where they are willing to go, and that has prompted some o’ them to wonder effen the city can’t do better by doing it by itself. Whilst the naysayers were doing their heavy breathing, it was pointed out that there is still time to work out the kinks, and get a contract signed or set up some other mechanism that will get the city the money it expects.
Madame Olga was looking into her crystal and wondered what the Charter Revision Commish was up to. As yew know one of the things politicos are hoping it will recommend is getting rid o’ the supermajority for budget changes. That may happen. But Olga said there are some interesting things going on over there – real work.
Ed Granfield and John Carrano, who are said to be working in tandem, are guiding the rest of the commish through a course that could be called City Charter 101. They are going through every jot and tittle of the document, learning what it says, and understanding it. It’s like a civics course.
Meanwhile, the new knowledge is giving the nine-member group a better understanding of things, and also a better idea of what the city may need and how the panel can meet those needs.
Wow! It sounds like things are really happening for the good of the city, not something we say often enough in these missives.
We can’t wait to hear more from Madame when next she observes in her crystal ball.
Iva Lootey was in t’other afternoon, and he told Cobina that one hurdle the Haven still has is a go-ahead from the National Park Service or some other branch of the feds over the closure of Bayview Park. That is a little park that is on the bend where Main Street becomes Water Street. In order to begin developing the area, the park has to be closed, and that needs a go-ahead from DC.
Meanwhile, the revised budget seems to indicate that some permits and stuff are gonna be new revenue. Let’s hope there’s more to it than just a hope. Two of the last three budgets had some big numbers based on that “hope” and it never came about; thus, putting us even further behind the financial eight-ball.
We ain’t heard anything more about Merlie Mae and her injuries. We’re hoping she’s doing OK and will soon be doing what she does best.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,