Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Beneath the Bottom Line

Some one told me the Good Book cited money as the root of all evil. I figured that made me a Saint, New Orleans or otherwise, but the real eye-opener was the discovery that it's the LOVE of money that's really at the root. Nationally, regionally, locally across this country we've gotten ourselves jammed up trying to understand what happens after you throw money at problems that don't go away, and then you run out of money. A lot of us are living in spaces and places where there are a lot more for sale than vote for signs on front lawns all across town as we head for the last weekend and holiday of the summer of 2010, and if the experts are to be believed, it's not going to get noticeably better any time soon.

We're going to elect 435 congressional representatives and about thirty Senators and close to the same number of Governors come November. I'm not sure at the macro level, it's not unlike attempting to empty the ocean with a teaspoon and with all due respect to those in the political prognostication business, a shift in a seat here or there, may mean we've traded up for a tablespoon.

All politics is local. When you look at our beginnings as a nation, there were dozens of places up and down the Eastern Seaboard getting annoyed at His Majesty, the Most Powerful Guy on Earth, before his soon to be erstwhile colonists announced, collectively we'd had enough. Announcing we wanted to be free was a huge first step, actually fighting to be free was logical and inevitable. Which brings those of us in Norwich to the hear and now.

They've been in the local papers in recent weeks and months and you're going to read about them a lot more through Election Day. I'm talking about the three bond issues which will be on the November ballot and battling for your attention as you eye the races for office elsewhere. Realizing you'll be spending a lot of time on the tops of your ticket choosing between "the Same" and "more of the same" let me point out that there are also
three bond questions, totaling 7.9 million dollars.

Each is targeted at a particular facet of efforts to restart and resuscitate economic development here in Norwich, from 1.5 million in basic infrastructure improvements in the Business Park, to not only retain the tenants there but attract new ones, through three million dollars to support an expansion of the natural gas pipeline service through Norwich Public Utilities which we, the residents, already own, finally to three point three million dollars for a 50/50 cost sharing with downtown property owners for improvements and upgrades to address fire, life, safety and Americans with Disabilities Act compliance issues, a revolving loan fund to entice businesses to come here that improve our tax revenue stream as well as our quality of life in Chelsea and a commercial rental assistance program to help those new businesses take root.

It's not the total answer to what ails us here in The rose of New England-and no one, from the members of the City Council to the various economic development agencies who helped the Council build the programs, will ever say it is. They will say it is a start-and a work in progress. 
They are building the plane, flying the plane and constructing the landing strip at the same time. They're not alone-people like neighbors from Norwich Taxpayers for Progress are spreading the word on what the bonds will do and won't do as well as breakout the costs to every taxpayer who wants to see the price tag of progress before putting cash money on the table. Make sure you have fresh batteries in your calculator because no one wants to compute the cost of continuing to do nothing.

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