It's in the numbers
So according to the Herald News exactly ONE person showed up for the Mayor's budget forum. I know I predicted low turnout but geesh! They should have just shut down the projector and had the guy come and join them at the table. And before somebody asks, no I didn't go. I had to work. It seems to me that Flanagan's budget is much like his predecessor's, based on a lot of assumptions. For this to all work everybody has got to agree to keeping their 8% pay cuts. It's based on the city council approving a tax increase. I love this. It's based on projected revenues from parking tickets. Basically we're betting that we can make $440,000 on new traffic meters around the court house. NOW I understand why Fiola hasn't solved the parking problem! We NEED the revenue! OK, so what if the revenue falls short, what if the unions and workers don't agree to the pay cuts, what if the council rejects the tax increase? Something tells me we have the makings of another budget fiasco on our hands, to be fair I think Flanagan is doing the best he can in very difficult circumstances.
The Great Cadime
So the budget process would seem to be a chance to see our new city administrator at work. I have to be honest I was not thrilled by the Mayor's choice here. This is something that I wanted to blog about but never got around to. Too many casino posts I guess. My problem with Cadime is simply that he has no experience in the role he has been hired to fill. The city is facing tough times, maybe the toughest and if I were doing the hiring I would want the most experienced, competent person I could find. Instead we take someone with no experience in the position, praise the qualities he brings to the table, give him a nice bump in pay over the last guy and say that the inside Fall River knowledge was the deciding factor. What? How many experienced city administrators are stocks piled in Fall River? Now 2 weeks after starting, Cadime has overseen the budget process. Really? I mean really? It takes most folks a full week just to figure out where they keep the pencils. Did he really oversee this? I'm not saying it's an outright lie, I'm saying I find it hard to believe.
Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink
It's disappointing that the City Council voted down funding to further replace antiquated city water mains. I certainly understand the concern about borrowing money when we don't have it, but water distribution is rather a crucial city service. The city has replaced about 50 miles of water pipes already but it's clear more work needs to be done. Hopefully this is only a temporary setback.
The Doran school is working on a plan that would restructure it from a k-5 school to a k-8 school. This is something that has been kicked around for a few years now. The school will also do more to reach out to and work with parents. It is also looking to become a bilingual school that would serve English speaking and Portuguese speaking students. This all sounds interesting and was even praised in a Herald News editorial. However School Committeeman Joe Martins has a question. Mr. Martins wants to know what will happen to the school's Spanish speaking students, which currently equate to 30% of the total enrollment? It's a good question! Joe further feels that it is unfair not to be considering a similar school that would combine Spanish and English. Considering all the talk about the increase in Spanish speaking people in the U.S. that seems a very good point as well. Martins was told he should hold his comments until a finished plan could be presented to full school committee. Martins pointed out that could be counterproductive. I don't get it. Why should he wait? Doesn't it make sense that after the initial proposal some questions should be asked? More importantly such input should be welcomed! Why would you wait for a finished plan and then find fault with it? Why not try to correct as many faults and answer as many questions right from the start?