There was a most excellent column in Friday's Herald Tribune by Max Ernst who asks whether we're in a budget crunch or not. The subject is the proposal for a new $70 million dollar stadium to lure the Boston Red Sox for Spring training. As he correctly points out, we lost the Cincinnati
Reds when voters rejected $40 million in improvements.
On the one hand, libraries and parks have been cut. Beach improvements were linked to the charging for parking, an idea so unpopular it was removed from consideration. At the same time, we are contemplating new investments, and my favorite:
County government workers just spent $112,000 on role-playing games to explain why they can't afford to provide services we've come to appreciate.
For some reason, the knee jerk reaction when money gets tight is to cut the front line troops, the people who actually provide services to the community, and who cost the county much less. I was once at a meeting of parks and libraries when a county official, who shall remain nameless, in the course of his/her speech happened to mention that employees made an average of 48 thousand dollars a year. Although I was one of the more fortunate, I looked around the room at the vast bulk of parkies and clerks who made nowhere near that amount and whose expressions were less than friendly as they did some basic math, namely calculating how much the people at the top make when they cause the average to rise to 48 thou. Add that to the amounts spent on consultants, and maybe there are economies to be found. For what it's worth.