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Friday, December 18, 2009

Why Did You Use ANY of the Overlay?????

I just watched the first 80 minutes of the city council meeting from this past Tuesday where they voted on the tax levee for 2010. I'm kind of confused at what I saw. I have six pages of notes, but I'm a little tired as it is one in the morning, so I'll keep this as brief as I can.

So basically, what it boiled down to, was we had enough free cash 4.67M to balance the budget. Clancy the Clown suggested we also throw 1M of our reserve into the fray to reduce the tax burden by 1.1% for all taxpayers in Lynn. A completely absurd proposal. I listened to several financial experts tell me this during the meeting. I even listened to them tell us all that using any of this overlay was not necessary. Using the 350K that we did, was NOT necessary to balance the budget. Are you listening? No town, worth it's weight in financial practices, would have done what our council did on Tuesday.  My company, if it were able to tax us, certainly would have used it's full tax levee power to bring in the right level of revenue to a business (in this case, the City of Lynn) that sorely needs it.  This is such incredible short term thinking to dip into our overlay in the amount that we did.

I guess it was smart of Crowley and Kennedy to propose a compromise under the 500K mark, but it almost seemed too easy.  Are we at the point where a two hour meeting on something this important is too long? Why didn't we debate the merits of using ZERO more? They seemed to outweigh the negatives and seemed to align with the views of the Mayor-elect.  This will not continue in 2010 because there will be cuts to useless people in our city that have been on the crony train for 8 years. Why it had to continue in 2009 when our free cash covered our obligations, I don't know if I will ever understand.  You almost can't complain about the added tax burden. It's almost negligible when you look at the total number. Compare that to the possibilities of the entire city of Lynn getting on the path to a better bond rating and it makes no sense for us to care about $36 dollars on our tax bill for the year.

That's what we're talking about. With the 350K relief we got, I heard $18 being thrown around as what I am going to save. BIG DEAL! I would rather live in a city that has a chance with Moody's and the Department of Revenue.

At one point Councilor Cahill asked about the total we could possibly borrow at our current rating. The answer was more then we could afford to finance. He seemed all proud about that, but isn't that NOT the point. Isn't it about the percent charged on the debt we do have, not about getting the opportunity to borrow more. I fail to understand the point of your question, Councilor Cahill.

In 2002 we had a reserve of 4% or 8.2M. Today we're getting close to 1%. Dangerous ground folks. IN the face of local aid and 9C cuts, we're gonna get screwed if we keep spending this cash.

I hope Kennedy remains true to the promises she made on Tuesday. Get the waste out of this government and return us to sound fiscal practices and STOP using this cash.

Ok, now all you taxpayers can yell at me in the comments! I'm one too and I will gladly pay more.

I'm actually kind of upset the Sommerville option got shot down so fast. Let Ward One-derful subsidize some of this city. They won't all shop Downtown...fine.... pay for it in another way.

-Corey

13 comments:

  1. Now they can say they worked cooperatively to reach a compromise of sorts, but some compromises leave everyone a little dissatisfied.

    However, Kennedy says she will stop the practice of using Overly funds. Instead of going cold-turkey, I suppose this is the gradual approach necessary to bring everyone on board.

    If people want services, essential like police, fire and schools, or otherwise, the money has to come from somewhere to pay for them.

    Just look at all the towns, some right nearby, that have raised fees for school sports, trash fees etc. because raising taxes is unpopular and hurts residents on a fixed income. So, they figure the users of those programs can pay for them. However, Lynn can not impose high fees for things such as school sports, or for trash collection, because too many people here can not afford to individually pay them. And also, with the quality of municipal services impacting the quality of our lives and property values, I'd think we'd want to maintain high standards for them. Therefore, we must pay higher taxes.. we can't have it both ways.

    But would I feel the squeeze of higher taxes? You bet.

    (Corey - yes it's almost 3am and you can probably guess why I'm awake)

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  2. I would of went cold turkey. Kennedy needs to stand up for what she believes. That is why we voted for her.

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  3. why do we bother. NOBODY LISTENS! we need more listeners, not governors in this city. maybe then we'll fix whatever needs fixing

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  4. When we're loud enough, they hear us! I think the election was proof of that. We just need to keep talking and sharing our ideas and hopes for this great city.

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  5. Kenney quoted recently, she is preparing to 'govern' the city. i hope her tone was misinterpreted, and she does become a great listener.

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  6. they came to a compromise? to higher taxes.

    a good compromise would be to reduce the pay of government workers, & reduce the free handouts.

    everyone around me has either lost their job, or lost hours, and receive less of a paycheck. and are helping other family members who lost their jobs.

    raising taxes in the recession is making me drop from a middle class person to 'poor'.

    maybe i should start growing chickens in my back yard to feed the family, cause the money tree is dry.

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  7. The way I understood the debate is they have the option to raise taxes by 2.5% every year. They can't go higher then that. Going lower, I assume, would put us at risk of not keeping up with inflation.

    No matter what we were getting an increase, as we do every year under this sound policy.

    The question being debated was whether to use the 1M in our overlay to offset this normal increase.

    The opinion of many, is that there will be more local aid cuts and 9C cuts in 2010. If that happens we'll have to cut further into police, fire, schools, and other public services. Much of the excess that Kennedy will get rid of, is under contract and will take some time.

    It is my opinion that we really need that money to stay in the overlay account and not be spent saving taxpayers thirty bucks. I'm happy we kept $650K.

    You still got your cut. What happened at the city council meeting was you got $12 back (the 350K) instead of $36 (the full $1M)

    Someone correct me if I'm wrong on my numbers. This is how I interpreted the meeting.

    -Corey

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  8. Corey,
    Thank you.
    There is insight to cut local aid jobs. Is there any insight they will also cut welfare. So many of us residents in Lynn have been fed up for years & years now with this type of system affecting the city.

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  9. Never ending your on the money.

    Until Lynn stops welcoming with open arms every community aid program under the sun then it's going to continue on this way.

    Take a look at the recent SPIN --or the recruit launched for volunteers to help people get the free tax credit they don't have.
    COME ON! I have to tell these people how to get more free money!
    (and provide child care for them too)
    They claim this will boost the local economy ......
    so they can spend more money on beer, candy and new sneakers.
    ARGHHHHHHH!!!
    I do guess the ciggy tax and lottery tickets will end up helping MA!

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  10. there making babies on purpose to get on the system!

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  11. Corey-

    I am from ward wonderful, and I am a bit baffled at your continual referral to ward 1 this way.

    Subsidize more of the city? Our fire station was taken away, our library closed... we have very little police coverage... There are no neighborhood after school programs for the kids to go other than the sports leagues, which the parents themselves run voluntarily, and my neighbors volunteer for and support organizations all over the city.

    And oh yeah, there are plenty of houses being foreclosed on and many, many families, like my family, who are struggling through the recessions just like anyone else. I think you paint an unfair picture of this part of the city by using that name. It also causes a fracture between the neighborhoods in our city, and aren't we supposed to be working towards a unified city?

    If you want people from any part of the city to participate more, it would help to not alienate them further with name calling. I have seen plenty of my neighbors at downtown cultural events, restaurants, galleries, fundraisers, etc.

    I just had to chime in my two cents here, being from Ward 1. When I moved here, I didn't know there were politics over which Ward you lived in. I picked the house we could afford that suited our needs at the time. We were able to purchase a small two-bedroom cape in disrepair and have spent the past nine years fixing it up. I don't think I, or my neighbors in Ward 1 or any other Ward, should have to subsidize anything any more than any other tax payer. What should happen is a better allocation of state taxes to those communities which have to offer the most services.

    I volunteer, I participate, I shop in Lynn whenever I can, and I'm not the only one from Ward one that does so! Not by a long shot!

    Thanks for giving us this forum to discuss these issues!

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  12. Ward one-derful is a beautiful part part of Lynn. I mean no offense. I will stop. You have some valid points and I apologize.

    I still hold that sommerville has figured something out to bring itself back and we shouldn't have squashed that council discussion in about 30 seconds.

    I've had friends in ward one tell me they've only ever turned left (towarda Goodwin circle). Help us get more of your neighbors thinking like you.

    What would get you downtown more often?

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  13. Corey- Thanks. The problem with getting downtown more than I do, which is plenty, is our work schedules. After a long commute, its dinner, family and homework and getting the kids to bed. On the weekends, when we have time to get out and do things, there's not much going on down there. It's great that you're focused on the condo owners, which (I apologize for my ignorance if this is not true) seem to be for the most part, younger than me and my neighbors, or (again an assumption from what I've read) don't have children. We're looking for things to do with the kids that are affordable.

    There are also a lot of elderly people on my street, and people close to retirement. Many of the ideas I see here just aren't geared towards us. We go to the games, when we're able to get home on time, we go to the Third Thursdays, the Greek festival, the downtown art festival, the museum shows, different things at the Lynn Arts building, and the city hall theater when we can afford it, but for tickets for the whole family, it can get expensive. If there's more going on, I don't hear about it. We eat out from time to time at a couple of places, Tacos Lupita is a favorite. Lynn is a family town. If you want to get more people down there, you've got to appeal to families. I don't know too many people in their twenties without kids that live around here. I'm not saying there aren't any, but it seems like a lot go away to college, and move on until they're ready to settle down and start a family, and want to come home and be near family. A few people I've met move here because it's so close to the highway and they commute like us. So, getting them down there more often after work and a commute and family... I don't know. That's a long day. I would focus on the weekends and family events. But good luck with what you're doing. It's great to hear all these stories about Lynn that I didn't know.

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