"Charlie Sykes says some towns are going back to gravel roads" was my first clue about the pervading mentality at our special town meeting of electors last night to vote on a proposal by the Board to borrow $1.5 million to reconstruct some roads and build a new community center: http://www.springprairiewi.com/
Essentially, the Town borrowed $5M several years ago to reconstruct some aging roads that were getting too expensive to continue repairing. They did it when the economy was down and they could borrow and hire cheaply and they promised not to raise taxes, a promise which they kept.
The Board is very fiscally conservative and not prone to promoting fanciful projects and the Chairman laid out the rationale masterfully. The Town hall was built in 1885 as a one room school house and had a small addition put on in the 50's. Both are in sad shape and will require significant cost to repair which is unknown until they actually open up walls, foundations and the roof and see what's there. Two retired residents who worked in construction said it's a money pit and putting more into it for maintenance and repair is just throwing money away. Reading the list of defects is hilarious, like "Furnace goes out when the wind blows." and "Septic tank has not been pumped in at least 35 years", no one living knows.
We're going to need a new town hall eventually, hell there wasn't enough room (I was in the kitchen other were in the hallway) fror everyone who showed and cars were parked up and down Spring Prairie Road on both sides of busy HWY 120 in the snow in the dark. We can borrow money and hire conctractors cheaply in this economy so it''ll cost more later. AND they promised again not to raise taxes and laid the figures plain as day. Not only that but our taxes would actually drop for the first two years at a minimum due to the finances and the lower maintenance costs for the new building. People kept asking the same dumb questions over and over that either someone else had already asked or that had been explained in the first place and some people were just plain rude and hostile. They voted it down with 60 to 70% against, because of the moronic belief that any government borrowing or spending is evil!
So instead of wrapping the $1M from the previous loan in with the new $1.5M, speading it out over 6 years, lowering taxes and getting a new hall that will serve for the next 100 years we're going to keep and repair the deteriorating spithole at unknown expense, keep taxes the same and wipe the $200K in the reserve fund that needs to be tapped to to pay off the old loan without raising taxes. The Board could have just done it on their own, but they wanted to take it to the voters. The voters elected these people, they are their friends and neighbors and they're not spend thrifts by any stretch. Yet they thumbed their noses at their studied recommendations and threw the money spent on an architect down the spitter. What a bunch of buffoons. Honestly, what a thankless job. I wouldn't be surprised if they resign. They're all older retired guys, who the hell the needs those kind of headaches?
I mean people were upset that there was going to be an office available to the sherriff where they could do paper work. "That's the county's responsibility!" Yeah and the county would pay for the supplies and equipment (phone, radio, computer). We wouldn't want a sherriff's deputy right here in our "community" (using the word very loosely) more often, hell it's only 20-25 minutes from Elkhorn!
How much longer do I have on this planet? I won't have to spend eternity with these "spirits" right?