Well honeybunch, effen yew like raw, rainy weather, we’ve got lots for ya here in the Asylum by the Sea. Waitin’ for spring is like “Waiting for Godot.” Ya think it’s just a few minutes away, and then we git back to the cold, wet we’ve had for weeks.
Hereabouts, however, the denizens of this community are lookin’ fer a couple things. One, the City Council should be puttin’ the finishing touches on its review of the budget. So far, not much has come outta the deliberations as no one, and we mean no one, has proffered so much as an opinion. Usually yew can’t go a day or two without someone opining on this or that. Over the month the council has had the budget, not much has been said one way or t’other.
The council should be putting together a budget ordinance, and we shall see what is what. Of course, we hear by way of Sammy Bluejay that the MARB – the review board – ain’t too pleased with the fack that herronner put together a package that don’t include some kind of tax increase.
Remember that thing called the “Five-Year Plan”? Well, it indicates that over the next half a decade our little burg is supposed to raise taxes up to the limit of 40 so that we have bigger cash flow. Ergo, when the city and herronner put pen to paper and signed the thing, everyone was expecting there would be a tax hike.
So, we won’t know till Thursday night (the day you git this missive) whether setch a thing was determined by the council. Effen it wasn’t the matter might not be settled, regardless of what the budget ordinance sez. MARB can dictate that there be a tax increase, and that the budget ordinance be revised by the council. MARB has all but plenary authority when it comes to city spending, and can put the kibosh on the council’s vote and force a new one.
This, of course, takes herronner off the hook if and when this happens. She can claim during an election year that she tried to keep taxes steady, but her hands were tied – that is true, also, of City Council candidates. So, regardless of what happens with the council, the story might not be finished until the MARB gives the budget the once-over.
Whilst that is goin’ on, there is some talk about consolidation of the fire districks. And, it’s always an interesting conversation. Y’see cuz of the transient nature o’ many of our residents, they don’t git the history nor structure of how these districts came about, or the political football the isshew has been since the city was incorporated in 1965.
Our editor has tried to scotch the discussion that MARB or the Charter Revision Commish can order setch a consolidation. The fire districks are quasi-municipal and have status with the state under statute. Two of the three districks went under home-rule in the 1970s to protect their independence, whilst the Allingtown District remained under its state-statute-ordered status from 1937 until it was dissolved in 2012.
It is a long process to git rid of the districts, and, so far, not a whole lotta will to make the journey through the legal hurdles. But the idea that MARB has something to say about it is mistaken. To put the matter simply: the two remaining districts are independent of the city, and don’t come under MARB’s mandate.
Nelly Nuthatch was perched by the City Council chambers last week, and the head of the library system was – as our headline said – “grilled” by the members. The system, which is used by many and was the focus of much of the comments and complaints during the budget hearing a few weeks back, has been losing money, and the council imposed its own “five-year plan” on it and the director.
In the meantime, they learned well from MARB. They dangled about $25k in front of the directress effen she comes up with a plan, witch seems to have happened.
Tennyrate, the directress was questioned by many of the members, and the queries were very pernted. This has more than a few locals upset, who feel that the library is a service – and one of the few the city offers. It should not be trying to make a cash cow outta the services it offers.
Let’s face it. This was low-hanging fruit for a council that is trying to look frugal. The library head was the easiest person to give a hard time to, and still look like money-saving was the name of the game. Yes, there will probably be a five-year plan, but one thinks that much of what happened last week was kabuki.
And because we’ve got into the late stages of the fiscal year, the city announced this week that the “boot” program is being re-fitted (pun intended). Those who haven’t yet paid their second-half taxes or, heaven forfend, their first-half taxes, will find their vehicles tethered to a contraption that will render it immovable. This has caused a hue and cry in the past, so we shall see what transpires as the spring wears on. Jest know this, those who owe taxes will owe a whole lot more when the boot is attached. The city let it be known so that those who are in arrears might make quick work of paying their levies.
The aforementioned Charter Revision commish is still waiting for a response from corporation counsel regarding its recommendations. The wag was in t’other afternoon and sez that there is some concern with a few of the recommendations cuz they get into procedure. These provisions might have to be looked at in light of current contracts and union rules before they can be given any go-ahead. That’s what he sez he hoid around the avenue.
There is no question some of the provisions that the commish wants to implement have to do with changing things around not only in form but in departments. There is talk of restructuring government, and even putting in a city manager. Those might not be palatable to some politicos, but they are passable if put to a vote.
The restructuring of departments or setch might be a bit problematic effen they countermand current collective bargaining or contract provisions. Yew knew this wasn’t gonna be a slam dunk, but there are only a few months left before the July deadline is upon us. Once yew git into May things seem to speed up and people’s attentions are diverted. We shall see what transpires in the next little while, but let’s hope most if not all of the restructuring is given a good vetting, and we git some real change around here.
One thing we hope passes muster is minority representation. Currently, it is a joke. We wanna see some more minority rep so at least things don’t die for lack of a second. The more discussion the better.
With that bit o’ chatter, I’ll close this time till next, mitt luff und kizzez,