Fall is coming, honeybunch, and with the waning days of summer, one wonders what the next few weeks are gonna be like. Remember, our “rainy season” is usually around late September into October, but with all the rain we’ve had, we can’t be wanting too much more. Heck around the Cobina homestead things are damp from the rain and humidity. We git a couple days where it’s dry, but then the humidity kicks back up. Around here, a little dry weather would be nice, but with the tropical storms and hurricanes that have come and gone – and still threaten – the dampness, I suspeck, are still gonna be around.
Sammy Bluejay was here t’other afternoon to discuss the recent meetin’ o’ the MARB. That’s the Municipal Accountability Review Board to the uninitiated. That’s the state panel that was put together to direck the city on how to git outta its financial problems after it bonded to retire what was then its debt.
Since the payment of that debt, it was discovered, further, that the O’Brien administration didn’t carry a one or somethin’ like that and we ended up bein’ about $1.4 million in the hole from the final budget of that administration.
Over the last little while the MARB has been trying to git the city to put together a five-year plan of action to its liking, and that’s been about as successful as finding teeth on a hen. No matter what the plan presented is, they don’t like it. And, the latest one is a killer. Raising taxes up to about 40 mills without fire taxes. People will exit this place so fast yew’ll hafta hold onto something so the suction doesn’t pull you out yore doors.
The panel, which has been considering putting the city in Tier IV is getting ever so much closer to doing that. In fack, jest like the wag predicted, one could bet that in the next month or two, that is exackly what’s gonna happen. Things ain’t going the way they’d like, and like the wag said, these are people who are not used to the democratic process.
What’s on this panel are bureaucrats and pencil pushers who are used to giving orders, not waiting for deliberations and votes. Effen Cobina was a bettin’ woman, she’d say we’re gonna be in Tier IV by Christmas. That means the state can gut the budget and reset it, set a new tax rate and perty much open up all the contracks.
There are those of us who think that’s what they’ve wanted all along, despite the protestations to the otherwise. The entire exercise is kabuki theater jest waiting until all the “options” have been used up and they can do what they really wanna do, which is take over. When that happens, hold onto yore hats, cuz they might take those, too.
The wag seems to think, and he’s probably right, they would place the city under Tier IV jest so they can git involved in the next budget cycle, which begins after the foist of the year. Then they can direck the process, and give the city no alternative but to pass it. That’s the way these things work, honey.
Whilst all that is going on, Nelly Nuthatch is tellin’ Cobina that the Charter Revision Commish is still working, and hopin’ to have its report out well before its July 2019 mandate. In fack, we’ve heard and told yew about the woik that the commish is doing.
Nelly has hinted that a major overhaul in some o’ the ways the city does business are in discussions, and it’ll be interestin’ to see what the local political class thinks o’ setch recommendations when they are presented for discussion and vote.
One thing that Cobina has heard is that there is some feeling on the commish that some type of communication should be made with the Municipal Accountability Review Board to see what that panel might believe is a good way for the city to reorganize. That probably ain’t gonna go over very well, as it will upset the apple cart maybe beyond the limits that politicos were hoping.
Cobina wasn’t able to find out effen these communications were gonna be formal or jest informal or “back channel’ as people like to say nowadays. Maybe it would be interestin’ to git the panel’s perspective effen for no other reason discussion. We shall see.
Iva Lootey came by t’other afternoon and sez that because of the summer, and because locals seem to have their attention centered elsewhere, a little thing got by almost everyone that was in the papyrus a couple weeks back. It seems the “boot program” is back in session, and the city is lookin’ for those who owe taxes, specifically car taxes, to git ‘em paid.
Like Cobina said, people have had their focus elsewhere and this little tidbit was put in the papyrus with little or no fanfare. Given the fack the city is still in financial straits that make every kopeck necessary, we’re sure there will be more than a few of the boots seen around the berg. Don’t be surprised effen a hue and cry is put up in the next few weeks.
Whilst all that is going on, there seems to be a stalemate betwixt the city and Gripe Vine over the answering of a few queries. Up until a little while ago, Louie Esposito, the city’s jack of all trades, was empowered to answer the queries. Then things got a bit entangled, and the thoid floor of the Actors Colony decided people should complain to their council reps. Many have, but excep’ for a couple o’ members, most have not exactly been on board.
Like we’ve said in the past, most people in the berg feel they don’t have any say about what goes on, even if they vote. Most of the decisions are left to other people. They want a few things handled that are minor – ergo, gripes. These gripes are handled by Eleanore Turkington and have been for almost 20 years. There has been a perty good success rate.
This lack of cooperation has happened in the past. Y’see, there are complaints from those that run departments and answer the questions that they don’t have time to do all this. They are too busy. They seem to think that answering questions by the people who pay their salaries is a task jest a bit beneath their stature. What they don’t understand is that these little things are those that the “little people” think they have a say in. Take that away from them and what’s the purpose of having a government?
Cooperation is usually a two-way street. It isn’t nice that there is a stonewalling going on. People want questions answered, and the people in charge should make time to answer.
Madame Olga came by for tea recently, and made mention o’ the fack that the Labor Day holiday should have begun the statewide campaign. Whilst there have been more than a few TV ads – too many, in fack – there has been very little from state candidates in the General Assembly, either state rep or senatorial.
Come to think of it, she’s got a pernt. Whilst Cobina don’t think a couple of seats are in danger of falling to the other party, there are one or two that could see a change. That would mean a heavy campaign in those districks. We ain’t seen that jest yet.
Still, there are more than a few weeks left, maybe we’ll see them soon.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this week till next, mitt luff und kizzez,