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Training Log Archive: PG

In the 1 days ending May 23, 2011:

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Monday May 23, 2011 #


Gone most of the day, playing golf at a nice private club over in the Boston area, thanks to a MGA program that arranges occasional access for a modest fee. My game was far from sharp (and the course was quite difficult), but very much enjoyed the day.

But no desire for a run after I was done.

I did stop by the weekly meeting of the town's Selectmen (the local executive authority). A couple weeks ago the town voted down their budget by about a 60-40 margin, because it would have raised property taxes about 11%, so they had to figure out what to do. Last week they decided not to try again at the ballot box with a smaller amount. This week the plan was to see what to cut.

And it turned out to be surprisingly easy -- cut a little, toss in some reserves, defer a couple of things, and pretty soon the numbers added up. But it was an interesting discussion. Very small attendance actually, just me and a couple of guys from the Finance Committee and a reporter. The FC wanted to cut a bunch more, to make the town do without some things (cut a police office, close the senior center, cut back the highway crew) to drive home the message that things were tight. The Selectmen clearly weren't going along.

And for about an hour there was a lively discussion about what to do. I was putting my 2 cents in, mostly on the Selctmen's side. Quite good fun. All the details about municipal finance were coming back to me. So part of the discussion was about what little pots of money might be buried here and there that might be accessed. And part was about what sort of changes could be made in town operations to make things more efficient. And part was about how to deal with the longer-term capital replacement needs of the town.

The voting will be done at another town meeting in a couple of weeks -- which I will miss, unless the ash cloud cancels flights to Ireland -- but the work and the decisions were made last night. Though people may not yet realize it.

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