Sunday, January 27, 2013

CPA/Taxes/Auburn Street

There is hardly a limit on what our local Community Preservation Committee can spend of CPA funds on a project. It is up to their collective discretion and in my opinion that is a serious flaw that needs to be addressed. Already there is talk of tapping into CPA funds for the police station and that could mean some serious outflow. The CPC could easily spend 60% of their funds on this project or none at all. My suggestion would be for the CPC to impose a cap on what a project can receive in a year based on a percentage of total CPA funds available. Say a limit of 15% or 20%? This would be a built in protection so that disasters such as the one in Bridgewater could be avoided. Also an applicant could always return the following year and make a request. Big ticket projects can turn into a money pit.
The reliance is upon the CPC to judiciously examine all proposals and recommend them to Town Meeting. Rarely does a CPC reject a proposal and rarely does a TM reject a CPA funded project. In fact very few projects actually turn into boondoggles That is what I have discovered in by usual diligent research. The Middleboro CPC appears cautious in the vetting process and hopefully that will continue and continue especially when the town comes forward in begging mode. But I have not found a CPC that has any self imposed limits or cap.
Deval Patrick has decided in his infinite wisdom that Massachusetts residents can pay even more in taxes. Already our road costs per mile are a notch away from being the highest in the nation while New Hampshire among the lowest. The primary factor being “administrative costs.” So that means a possible sales tax and gas tax increase to address transportation issues and - of course - the billions that the governor wants to spend on commuter rail to New Bedford and Fall River and - naturally - a line from Pittsfield (yes - it is part of Massachusetts) to New York City. I doubt if the famed Middleboro Rotary is on his agenda.
The proposed tax increases also have their usual “For the children” component meaning more for education. This is the poorly veiled attempt at emotional blackmail since the last thing we need is some rag covered tikes sitting in a classroom of eighty other rag covered tikes without heat, computers, pencils and no other potential services.
Fees are the other area that politicians love to exploit. I’m all for a fee to serve in the legislature. You are elected to office you pay a fee. You are elected to office you have to pay for a bond (not Adam) incase any skullduggery takes place on your watch - a remote possibility. So I doubt that will happen but your auto inspection may be doubled. Why do repair shops continue to do it if it is time consuming and those machines so expensive? Well the usual takes place: “You are going to need new ball joints!” “You need new wipers!” “You have a light out!” Amazing how much is discovered wrong or in need of repair.
Is Auburn Street finally settled? A court order was issued for the mess to be handled and the way the courts have operated with some of this crap I hope the Judge is Roy Bean. Just maybe this will be the start of public usage for the area and not to run a junk yard.
Obama in his inauguration speech had a line in the sand drawn for Republicans and even some of the more conservative elements in his own party. His focus for the bully pulpit appeared to be on his social agenda with no real specific on how to pay the bills.
Tom Brady is a very good quarterback but no longer a great one. He has morphed into a combination Brett Farve and Peyton Manning with spectacular numbers and then pedestrian ones in the playoffs. His performance against Baltimore was dreadful.
U.S. Attorney General Carmen Cruz plans on continuing the efforts of her department to grab a Tewksbury motel despite a rebuke of a judge that dismissed the case. Another example of prosecutorial reach or more clearly a money grab in which the feds can share the bounty with the locals.

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