Can borough residents stand more "conservative"governing?
WARNING SPENDING HOUND VISUAL AHEAD…
We think this about sums it up because you know pictures even mental ones are better than words.
Imagine the spending hounds ie: your assembly driving a hound clown car that holds not just the assembly spending hounds but the taxpayer check book.
Assembly spending hound Arvin is driving the car with only one destination in mind. The destination only he and he alone knows and will take no directions from any other hound or spectators along the road who are for the most part trying to stay out of his way.
Assembly spending hound Colver and Assembly spending hound Colligan with tongues wagging are hanging out the front seat passenger window relentlessly asking “When will we be there” and “can we get out now?”
Assembly hound Colligan is trying to make his fellow hounds pay attention to a map he wants to download if he could only find a signal and get the other spending hounds to pay attention. He knows how the trip will be successful if he can just get their attention.
Assembly hound Colver more comfortable wearing a cape instead of a collar is stuck in the door and can only get a few barks out. He worries he won’t get to the fire hydrant he has picked out before spending hound Arvin decides to stop the car.
Assembly spending hound Salmon is in the back seat of the hound car and as grumpy as can be because he didn't want to leave the yard and no one told him he would have to take this long car ride. His pleas for stopping the car so he can get out are falling on deaf white floppy Arvin spending hound ears.
Assembly spending hound Woods is in the backseat next to Salmon. It’s not clear he knows where he is or why he left the yard in the first place. He keeps looking for the EPA or somebody from the federal government to blame but the car is going too fast. Where he’s not sure.
Assembly hound Halter is running behind the car trying to take some big things like money for education out of the trunk so he can get some other goodies that he thinks will look good in his dog yard. He is smiling and biting the tires almost simultaneously.
Assembly hound Keogh is sitting on the curb. He is the only one with enough sense not to want to go for the ride in the spending hound car because he was told to guard the people’s house. He knows it’s quite likely that the spending hounds will crash. He is catching all the toxic exhaust from the clown car while he waits for the inevitable.
The ceremonial mayor hound is still standing in the field trying to figure out how to get his veto equipped tractor unstuck in time to pop a few tires on the spending hound car. He wants to ride in the car but the other hounds have made sure his tractor wont go anywhere because it's stuck in an abundance of cow manure.
The hired "budget analysts-financial mad scientist" is running alongside the car trying not to roll under the tires which might preclude his chance to jump in the car and always ride around with the spending assembly hounds.
You get the picture...
Last night’s special assembly budget deliberation meeting started out with the ceremonial mayor giving the floor to Assemblyman Arvin who joked “the dog ate my homework”. This after successfully suspending the last meeting nearly a week ago because the assembly contract financial guru Jim Wilson wasn't there and Arvin argued that he needed to be there to "get it right".
But wait Wilson was nowhere to be found when last night’s meeting began.
Was Arvin’s joke on the taxpayers of the borough who is paying for this series of special deliberations and turning into quite the messy process?
After a hasty break 30 minutes into the meeting Wilson was found and...
Wait for it ...he PHONED it in. From his home in Oklahoma we suspect. Either that or from under the hotel bed considering what followed.
Wilson quickly tried to unravel some knots he made in his budget suggestions (that Arvin admitted was only to he, Colligan and Colver) and the spending assembly hound Arvin attempted to cut $425,000 out of the borough retirement reserves.Wilson was the "expert" hired by this same sitting assembly two years ago but he clearly didn't know or remember how the state retirement program in which the borough participates works and the needed reserves be kept for them to operate. Wilson gave a few soggy, hard to hear answer to questions carefully filtered by the mayor who also seemed frustrated.
Spending hound Arvin moved to put the retirement reserves back into the budget until they had more answers. But other cuts were made by the suggestion of Wilson. Cuts to finance (really..the assembly is micro managing tax bill printing costs?), administration, the revenue and budget department and their favorite target the Planning Department. Wilson's advise for a cut to the legal department was stopped in its tracks when the assembly was informed after settling yet another lawsuit the account he wanted to move it out of was dry.
Spending hound Colver described Wilson's technique as historical and “scientific forensic accounting”. We’re guessing Wilson used this same method to not understand the borough retirement system or seemingly to even talk to borough finance about it. Turns out this “forensic accountant” reporting comes via pen and paper consisting of notes scribbled on an existing borough spread sheet or at least that is what was handed out to the audience. No pie charts, formulas or shiny glossy reports. Even at $225.00 an hour plus “reasonable expenses”.
Maybe spending hound Colligan should talk to Wilson about this century accounting software programs or be provided a lesson from the school district before he makes more suggestions to chase down the rabbit hole.
SPENDING HOUND CAR CONTINUES ON...
Several amendments were left on the table without action with promises for more to hit on Thursday. No word if Mr. Wilson will join in the meeting or spend any time asking questions of the people that work at the borough instead of talking to the hounds. We see that spending hound Colver has offered an amendment to move the position for a "financial analyst" into administration's budget for $113.838. What does that mean we don't really know except we're pretty sure the last thing the manager needs is more management from the micro managing spending hounds.
To his credit spending hound Arvin offered and passed an amendment to fulfill the school district’s 3% increase in local funding although it should be more to put it on par with other large districts . Keogh had already offered up the amendment to fully fund the request from the district but it had not been acted on yet. Health and social service grant matches ($150,00 and already offered by Keogh too) youth court ($75,00) and Wasilla City Planning ($200,00 for the SART program in disguise) all passed but are still subject to amendments and the ceremonial mayor's veto pen.
Spending hound Colligan has made a few suggestions about more money for accounting software to bring the borough into this century. Not a bad idea unless he wants to put Wilson in charge of this century and he might have to wrestle with hound Halter for the $400,000 prize for his yard.
For a complete wrap up and much more to fill in the blanks we suggest you tune into Radio Free Palmer KVRF 89.5 FM (or www.radiofreepalmer.org ) tomorrow (Thursday regular feature of Mike and Friend’s Show) at 8am-9am when the citizen lobbyist visits. The full meeting from last night is available for your own listening torture on the Radio Free site.
TRAVELING ON FOR MORE FUN...
The hounds are back at it on Thursday for yet another "special budget deliberation meeting". Since as the ceremonial mayor said they hadn't "made much progress" and despite the little snarl by Salmon they scheduled two more meetings next week for deliberations. That would mean if they don't finish tomorrow night the assembly will meet for their regular meeting next Tuesday and then again Wednesday and Thursday on the budget.
Not sure we can stand that much fun. They say it's not over till the fat lady sings.We say it's not over till the spending hound car comes to rest in the unregulated junkyard and the hounds spill out into the runoff pond.