Back Alley Puddle Reduction Makeover

If this is rambling rant of a post today full of errors or repetition, it’s because sometimes there is need for ranting, plus I’m in a hurry. If you are so inclined, please try to make sense of the nonsensical. That’s all we can do some days.

Last night’s town meeting left me once again absolutely outraged at the way this town conducts itself. Not only are there question marks floating above my head, but that quizzical look is back on my face and the nonsense makes my head spin. You too? I figured as much.

Lake Park is once again about to embark on a spending spree and again the money is going to the back allies via politics. Of all the sketchy things…here our town is borrowing $350,000 to lavish an extreme makeover on an alleyway because water puddles there. Seriously? With the constant lament over financial troubles, this town’s staff is spending HUGE cash on correcting a 50 year old grade issue on an alley. On top of it, they don’t plan to merely fix what they consider such a need with common sense practicality and move on; for some reason they have taken the view that this alley is some oppressed and needy ugly ducking in need of some of their redistributive, transforming justice or something. Read SCAM. Since when do alleyways need mascara and lipstick? This is just bizarre. Am I overstating this? Well, think about it.

As if it’s perfectly natural, the town includes in the puddle-fix plan a landscape overhaul, for which they are borrowing $40,000, despite the fact that the bid only came in at I believe they said around $32,000. This was acknowledged by Richard Pittman, CRA Project Manager, without batting an eye and not one person questioned it. No one. What?! And I’m confused as well as to why the CRA Project Manager handles all of this if this is not coming out of CRA funds. I thought the CRA and the town were separate. This is just another of the muddled messes that makes everything about these projects suspect.

These mind-numbing facts and figures and confusing spirals of numbers and fund-switching political lingo are nothing but shell games and they have become so common now it seems to be getting hard for anyone to acknowledge the sleight of hand when it happens. Our commissioners are  so busy trying to make sure the numbers and funds add up that they buy into the project-speak and forget to step back and look at the ridiculousness of what they are discussing. Someone threw in the terms stormwater and drainage and so it’s a “go”. They get caught up in particulars that are nothing more than minutiae that divert attention from what is going on here. Waste. There should be a panic button residents can hit at home or in the audience when this kind of ridiculousness ensues.

Unfortunately the sheer number of things going on and the last minute agendas don’t give much prep time for residents to go through the plans and contact commissioners. Commissioners, we need you to do that work and stand up for us and our wallets. I appreciate that each asked some questions, but why not ask the important common sense questions and look at the premise of this. Thanks to Commissioner Longtin for being the sole dissenting vote that stood in opposition to the nonsense.

Wake up people! Who in their right mind does not see the mismanagement of public funds in this? This is our money, with interest, I might add, that they are playing with. Common sense needs to come back into play in Lake Park. Live within your means. Does anyone care to do the math and give us the figure over the life of the loan with the interest, including the costs for all the fees and spa treatments and spruced up dumpsters? And is this stormwater fund obligation openended? Do we have this money pilfered from us every year until this is paid off no matter that they are borrowing with interest? I am not sure, but taxpayers were lured into the stormwater/drainage ruse and now they will pay and pay again.

I’m not denying that the alleyway might be less than lovely or that puddles are a pain when you are the one who has to step in them, but how many people is this affecting negatively? Seriously. Have we stumbled into Bizarro World? Now think about how many people who aren’t affected by this whatsoever still have to pay for it. And not only will they have to pay, they will pay the debt service. For a luxury treatment.

This is a back alley, folks. A back alley. There is so much about this that speaks to faulty thinking of most of those running this town. First we tell voters that they need to pay for a stormwater fund for drainage. The town buys in thinking they are being told by those who know better that we have some dire town infrastructure need. Then we are assessed $78 a year for this and have been since around 2008 or 2009. That money goes into a fund which is mangled into a confusing mishmash of financial-speak (political financial-speak) making it impossible to understand why the money’s in the fund even though some of it came out and is going over there while someone stirs part of it up here and brings it to the boiling point on that burner and someone else bakes that part over there in another oven until it solidifies into something of another sort over there. Oh and don’t forget, this is going to ‘really help’ when our town sinks who even knows how much into the parking lot-to-be (for who knows what reason) which is currently a community garden. I can’t even go there right now. What is this town’s fascination with spending big money on parking lots anyway?

We can’t quite explain what comes of all this, so in the end, we are just ‘happy’ it all “makes sense” to those “who know better”. We smile and nod as they borrow the $350,000 at 4% for 7 years, even though we have already paid into the fund for this invaluable glorified puddle-reducing-makeover-updo-spa treatment-full-mud-wrap-and-project for a couple of years. Make sense? That’s what I thought.

Have a nice day, Lake Park.