Wednesday, April 20, 2011

You Can Check Out Anytime You Like . . .

. . . but you can never leave.* Such was the thought that came to me late last Saturday afternoon. After Mrs. TOA and I spend a pleasant couple of hours at the State Botanical Garden it came time to leave, as the temperature started to drop (and high school prom folks started to arrive). But we could not leave. A rather large tree had fallen across the road leading to the lower parking lot, the one in front of the visitors center, thereby keeping us confined.

We were in about the fourth car in line to get out, and quite a few more stacked up behind us. After a while a couple of female employees appeared with a chain saw. I must confess that I did not have much faith in the woman wielding the implement (it was my understanding that liability considerations prevented any of us mere civilians from operating it) - but, in fact, she did just fine with the thing. We onlookers hauled and pushed limbs and logs off of the road and had the obstacle removed in about 10 to 15 minutes.

All in all, in was not a bad experience. A group of strangers teamed together to achieve a needed, common goal - and then went their separate ways.

*Apologies to Don Felder, Don Henley, and Glen Frey.

Sphere: Related Content

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

CCSD Finally Posts FY 2011 Budget (no, not the proposed one for FY 2012)

The Clarke County School District has modified its “Our Budget” web page in response to my latest opinion column in the Banner-Herald. This was entirely predictable and, quite frankly, has become old hat.

The web page still provides links to the various, though cursory, materials pertaining to the “tentative” budget proposed for FY 2012. Gone is the older, outdated material. Added this week (finally) is the FY 2011 Budget, meaning the one for the current fiscal year that is almost over.

Note though, that the CCSD’s $118,481,353 FY 2011 budget only comes to 64 pages. By contrast, the Unified Government’s $106,793,709 FY 2011 budget runs some 338 pages.

That being the case, it seems entirely reasonable to assume that City Hall’s budget is far more specific than that of the CCSD - and it has been posted on its web site since last spring when it was unveiled.

Sphere: Related Content

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Impertinent Observations (fiscal edition)

I cannot help but think that last week’s federal “budget” negotiations were a complete sham (actually the horse trading concerned yet another continuing resolution – the budget should have been passed last year but was not).  I fear that in the long run, as Macbeth may have noted, they were “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” substantive insofar as actually cutting spending in a meaningful way.  The upcoming talks on the next fiscal year’s budget and increasing the federal debt ceiling will, in all likelihood, simply constitute more of the same.

The Clarke County School District is out with its budget for FY 2012.  Despite the claim that it is an “austerity" budget, the folks over on Mitchell Bridge Road actually intend to increase spending over the current fiscal year.  For some commentary, see my column in next Sunday’s Banner-Herald.

The folks down at City Hall have been talking about their FY 2012 budget in work sessions, but have yet to release it or the proposed millage rate.

Finally, while I agreed in principle with the Special Council’s quest to broaden the tax base for the State of Georgia while simultaneously reducing rates, there was quite a lot not to like about the specific proposals, especially those that would have injected the government into “casual” transactions.  Oh well, perhaps the exercise may lead to something productive in the next session of the General Assembly.

Sphere: Related Content