Thursday, November 13, 2008

Not Mike Dukakis’s snowblower

So if your spouse or teen-ager drove the family van to a Vermont ski resort from the People’s Republic of Amherst and forgot to check the oil and somehow missed the illuminated idiot light warning of imminent disaster, would you simply cough up $19,000 for a brand new van to replace the one with a seized motor?

Probably not. But Amherst taxpayers did that for the LSSE recreation empire in FY08. A Ford Windstar Van with only 54,000 miles sits forlornly in the DPW parking lot (actually moved onto the grass to make room) waiting to be sold “as is”--meaning it will bring in little to nothing.

Comparative healthy vans with that low mileage resell for anywhere between $4,000- $6,000.

One of the (many) quirks of municipal budgeting is that capital items are treated separately from the operation budget (as is insurance and employee benefits). When I buy a treadmill for my Health Club it's financed out of my everyday revenues, and if the revenues are not there then I don’t buy the item. And when I do buy an expensive item like that I take good care of it.

But municipal bureaucrats get to purchases capital items ($22,000 lawn mower for the Cherry Hill Golf Course for instance) outside their everyday operation budget. And as a result, that money is not always well spent.

And, as you can see, items purchased don't always get the best of care.


maryd said...

Larry, just wondering if you know how much they spent to upgrade the town website?

LarryK4 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
LarryK4 said...

$15,000 one time set up fee and now we're paying $375 per month support.

That was just for the main system. I think there was another $15,000 or more for some other software package--possibly the 'complaint tracking system'.

Speaking of which did you ever hear back after using that system?

Anonymous said...

This is chicken feed compared to what they spend in the maint dept at the middle school. New maint. trucks, plows, snow blowers, various tools etc etc... All to keep the natives buttered up and sweet for Ron B.

Too bad the jerk cares less that the natives are so destructive...

I mean, 3/4th of the dept employees have known each other since grade school.

It's Amherst's own little Nazi playground.

maryd said...

After a month of "signing in" I haven't gotten any feedback. And after asking twice on the town managers site he posted to call his office. Now, to me that kind of defeats the purpose of it. My original question wasn't major, but what if it was? I would have been happy with any sign that a human had read it, now I'm just annoyed.

LarryK4 said...

Yeah, considering how much (in) attention he pays to his blog this somehow does not surprise me.

The Internet definitely reduces the need for phone calls, snail mail, the labors of secretaries and such (but only with institutions that know what the hell they are doing).

So why did we spend all this tax money to gussy up the town web page if nobody is minding that store?

Anonymous said...

Speaking of snowblowers, how come no-one ever asks who does snow removal for the schools, sometimes ALL NIGHT, and then gets into buses and vans to drive students (on the sometimes still slippery roads) with little or no sleep!! Hmmm?

Amazing what we don't know. Or don't care look into...

Just a matter of time people...

Mr. Reckless Ron Bohonowicz?

Couldn't care less.