Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Reporting on kickoff meeting for the capital budget

Both the NHRs Luther Turmelle and the MRJs Jesse Buchanan reported today on last night's capital budget meeting.

Generally, the debt is trending down... which is a good thing. But I think it's also worth noting that the Operating Budget (as compared to the Capital Budget) has a line item called "Capital non-recurring" (CNR). For all intents and purposes, the CNR budget is the same as the Capital Budget. And since the CNR is trending up (around $1.4million annually)... so while it's totally accurate to describe the overall debt burden as decreasing... that doesn't necessarily mean that spending is decreasing (or increasing)... it's just that some spending has been moved to a different budget. Regardless...

I think my favorite comments were from the MRJ:

Councilman Matt Altieri also found the town's position a good one, and compared the town to a household without car payments and credit cards. Surprise expenses could be dealt with, he said, without wrecking the town's financial stability.

Of course "surprise expenses" (like turf??) can be handled! That's the benefit of having a slush fund balance policy that the Council majority acknowledges costs millions of dollars, but has yet to quantify the benefits.

And taking the cake was this OTT comment:

"The thing that concerns me the most is the waste water pollution control," Altieri said, referring to the agreement between the town and Cheshire prison.

Yeah. I'm sure that's his top priority. Certainly the turf isn't as high a concern. I guess that's why he got $525,000 in state slush funds for turf... but not for the sewers. Yeah. I guess I'm just missing something... which brings me to one more point...

I'll expand on this more in the near future, but for now I thought you might be interested to know that there's been a recent flurry of emails among Council members. The topic - decorum. Yes. Decorum.

So to kick off this upcoming series on "decorum," I have a suggestion for all those Council members who don't like to read the Bathroom Wall... abandon the intellectual dishonesty and show some respect to the voters.

I can't force anyone to respect me. But the least our elected officials could do is show some respect for the voters.

Tim White

p.s. for my part to improve "decorum," I will be posting some new commenting rules... including my thought process in determining if comments get deleted. Hopefully I'll have some time for that this weekend.


Anonymous said...

Now that's funny. I doubt that will ever happen!
I am sure it comes from the Herald's editorial about the young, female councilperson who was chatting away in the audience with a friend while the meeting was going on, and then she had to be called back to her seat to vote.
Perhaps when a new TC member is elected, theu should go to a seminar on decorum and while they're at it, send some of the veterans there too who feel obligated to talk down to the public who come to the meetings and who consider blogs like this "bathroom wall writing".

Now, onto Altieri.....oops, better not, my mom taught me that if I didn't have something nice to say I shouldn't say anything. I will show some decorum now.

Anonymous said...

The Cement Head speaks:

"compared the town to a household without car payments and credit cards."

Matt, are you planning to have the town renege on its debt service ala NYC circa 1974?

If the man is oblivious to the tens of millions of bonds the town has floated he is too dense to serve on this board

Anonymous said...

On the surface of it Altieri’s purported comment seems correct. I guess the devil is in the details however. Maybe it is fair to suggest the town is similar to a household in that the town has no car payments and no credit card payments.

Altieri seems to have forgotten conveniently though that in spite of no car and no credit card payments just maybe the town’s expenses contain something very similar to a sub prime mortgage. Now all but the most out of touch amongst us knows what that is by now. I’m not suggesting anyone on the council is, well out of touch here.

We don’t of course have a sub prime mortgage in the classical sense but one could model our behavior associated with compensation of municipal employees as being exactly identical to a sub prime mortgage which has been allowed to grow uncontrolled. In the end our personnel policies associated with various forms of compensation as well as productivity will destroy our current financial status and result in devastating tax bills for local residents as well as greatly reduced real estate prices.

I guess Altieri isn’t like most of the rest of us tax payers’ in this town. Every year, relentlessly our tax payments increase and the town slowly whittles away at what we get in return. Oh, I almost forgot, time to rejoice, this is, I hope, the year of the annual (every 24 month?), large item trash pick up?

Anonymous said...

Talking down to the voters is bad. Not answering their questions is disrespectful. Come election time remember this and vote accordingly.

Anonymous said...

The Democratic Majority, collectively (and individually)
is ruining the town.