Sunday Sanitarium

A story on expected and large budget cuts at the County level (here):

He estimates that if expenses aren’t cut, a tax hike could be as high as 18.5 percent. Worse, DiMezza said the deficit could continue to grow in the following two years.

Flippin’ here. I just want to highlight what utter nonsense it is for city leaders to believe that they can realistically look to the county as a way to ‘share services’, in reality, transfer costs to the county, under such a scenario. Let’s remember what shared services advocates claim: you can keep the same level of service quality while paying less, some claiming zero,  for it by having the county perform the service– it’s literally magic.  The only way this works is if there is zero zero marginal cost to the county to provide the service which suggests that the county has so much excess employee capacity that it will in fact be feasible. Of course, cutting nearly 50 positions creates an odd paradox: either it greatly reduces all that excess capacity or it illustrates how heavily overstaffed the county really is.

If you doubt my premise, I simply ask for you to point out in the upcoming city and county budgets , what the line items are for demolition. Show me the hard dollars budgeted for this all so vital program. The silence on demolition is now deafening.

What tweaks me out about the shared services argument as it’s preached is the utter lack of political and economic basis for the argument in light of well-established trends in the local economy and budgets: they believe that every other village and town and city outside of Amsterdam will fund and support initiatives in the city when they themselves stand to lose significant services. Amazing.

In another classic ‘Who me?’ moment, our local community decries for what they themselves voted:

Prior to a vote by public referendum in 2005, the mayor and the city controller worked together to present a balanced budget to the Common Council which would then be reworked as the aldermen saw fit, with the mayor having veto power over their decisions.

Now, all seven citywide elected officials (aldermen, mayor, controller) work together on a Budget Review Committee to have the plan in place by June 1.

Flippin’ here. I’m hardly surprised that local voters have no institutional memory because they would then have to face the fact that much of what has happened here is their own handiwork.  I’m convinced almost everyone drives around here believing that they share no fault in what has transpired here; ‘Who me?!’, they say, “No not me, THEM!”.

Speaking of THEM, I’m heartened by this editorial (here):

Or tuning into the local radio stations and hearing some nincompoop blame all of the area’s woes on all of “those people” on welfare (apparently the new code phrase for “Hispanic.” Anyone with half a brain can read between those lines) or, my favorite, “the Spanish,” because apparently this area has experienced a heavy wave of immigrants from Barcelona and Madrid.

Flippin’ here. It’s no secret this is standard operating procedure on the airwaves yet no one ever calls it out for what it really is —  it’s about f’ing time. And it’s also about time that local radio opinion gets subject to the same standard as print and digital media.


A little Sunday musica


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