RANT: I never would have taken the Town Council for Dancing With the Stars hopefuls, but they are definitely executing some fancy footwork with this year’s budget. As reported on this site a few days ago, the council voted 4-0 to increase the budgeted tax collection percentage from 98 percent to 99 percent, giving an instant $400,000 top up to the 2013 budget.
I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that regardless of how one feels about taxes, if we have a tax rate that we have to pay, then dammit, everyone else better be paying their dues as well. However, this does not seem to always be the case. The powers know this from experience and therefore factor this shortfall into their anticipated revenue.
So why they think simply stating that they can collect 1 percent more of these uncollected taxes will make it so is unclear. I know I have tried that method for years with weight loss and it never seems to work. Maybe they have a secret plan in place. Who knows because they aren’t saying.
Let me pause here to give a “it’s a dirty job, but someone has to do it” nod to the council. Figuring out how to allocate funds is no walk in the park when times are sweet because everyone wants a piece of the pie. It becomes grunt work when times are tight and that pie has shrunk to a mini bite. Frankly, there is no such thing as a budget that makes everyone happy.
The task is even more Herculean because the town has to submit the budget before they know what the state aid is going to be. This is not unique to East Greenwich, but really, is there any reason that we have to play this pin-the-tail-on-the-budget game? Can’t we set the deadline for the town budget after the state and therefore know what drachma is coming our way? Anyone?
RAVE: Like the Coffee Talk lady used to say, "I'm getting verklempt! Talk amongst yourselves."
I am referring, of course, to East Greenwich High School’s recent premiere ranking in GoLocal’sProv.com top school ratings yet again. Of course, we’ll ignore the slight dip in the NECAP scores because who cares? We’re still Number One with 91 percent above proficient Reading, 64% Math, and 76% Writing the best SAT averages in the state. (Picture foam finger waving around here.)
It gets a little boring always being first. But what can you do when you live in a place where the women are tall, the men are good looking and the kids are above average? Anyway, stability is important in these uncertain time.
Nor is this a case of you get what you pay for. Despite our town’s affluent suburban ghetto rep, we actually spend only $14,086 per student, which is lower than most of the other Top Tenners (OK, I made that name up, but I think it should be used) this year.
But tiger parents, be aware! There is a downside to all this. Having so many accomplished, intelligent students from one geographic location can limit the number that are picked up by the Ivies. Might be time to dust off that For Sale sign when your darling Einstein reaches Senior Year.