Actually, it was fun to force the conversation in the four meetings on capital improvement budgeting into real, honest-to-goodness policy wonk discussions.....
Like everybody else, I think we're in for some rough times. Our needs as a community keep growing and the amount of $$$$ available is shrinking.
I have a constituent who is 83 years old and is (obviously) on a fixed income. She has been calling me two or three times a week to complain about all the "spending, spending, spending" going on in City Government. I have patiently explained to her that I am doing my best to keep the costs down but at the same time I have to spend money to keep her safe (new fire department) , to protect her car on the road (new street construction and maintenance) (oh yeah, she STILL DRIVES!) and to build new access roads for an industry that has decided to locate in our town which will, eventually, bring new taxes into the city to reduce EVERYBODY'S tax rate.
There is truth to the rumor that the more detail you have to provide the more likely you are to lose the argument. My sweet, little old lady constituent doesn't understand most of this but I'll try again and again and again to help her understand.
It's a nasty little balancing act. And, in the end, I think most of the taxpayers are going to end up like the guy at the left. Public safety comes first, then comes infrastructure and then "economic development". Staff and bureaucracy are last....DEAD LAST....in my scheme of things. I blame most of it on the fact that our priorities have been completely screwed up for about 10 years. We've spent money on "pie-in-the-sky" projects and we've let the bureaucracy in the "palace" grow beyond control. Now we have to pay the piper (if you will).
My opponent apparently has another blog post up blasting me to high heaven....too bad. If he had a life (or a real job) he wouldn't have time to do that kind of thing.