Friday, August 28, 2009

Everything passes ...

Sometimes you have a town meeting and it's almost a formality.

Such was the case last night.

Everything the town leaders wanted they got including the meal tax, which to my dismay will raise the price of a Bud Light and a mai tai by ... oh a several tenths of a percent. But the point is it's the principle of a tax on restaurants and bars which will hurt the servers (in theory) more than anyone. The amount is a pittance, but then again it opens the door.

The hotel tax I voted for and believe in. To put it nicely additional "services" are required for the many transient residents of town recently. Umm ... ya. Get a police scanner or ask around at the barbershop and you'll understand what's going on there - it's the seedy underbelly of town really at this point and of some concern for residents. I wouldn't let your kids have parties at the motel if you care about them IMO. Not to mention additional emergency services needed.

I suppose the argument can be made given the disproportionate number of DUIs the town gives out that serving in restaurants needs to be offset for the dangers that are presented by those under the influence on our roadways. But to me there's less of a case there because those costs are borne in large part by those who get caught.

The other motions all passed too.

Nick made some good points that we have the money. Of course this is a bit duplicitous when the alarm cry comes (every year it seems) that we need spending freezes and the like that we're in dire fiscal emergency. Then again that seems to be the MO for keeping costs in line in the local government. Otherwise as mentioned all this money gets set aside for months or even years without positions being filled. This whole business needs to be streamlined and I think my hope is the eventual town manager will reorchestrate some of it.

I mean we have $1.2M in the reserve account. And open positions etc. The budgets have ballooned in the past 5 or so years and we need to appreciate the facts there that the cost of doing government here locally is growing way faster than income required to pay for it.

Then again on the other side, given the hurt in the real estate market I'd imagine collections may suffer for it. Although according to the TA collections are actually ahead by $25K locally. Here we go again - the little town that could is overacheiving expectations.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Some more stuff - Google's foreclosure maps

Check this out - Google has foreclosure maps now. Why buy from a Realtor ...

auburn ma - Google Maps

Prices look like the late 90s - ranging from $75K to $250K.