Friday, May 13, 2016

At Watch's End

Once upon a lifetime ago, when I was a young, brash asshole and had not yet blossomed into the middle-aged, curmudgeonly asshole I presently am, I had a rather cavalier disregard about the livelihood of others.  By that I mean, unless the person suddenly being separated from his or her position was a member of my household, a member of my family, or both, I lost precious little sleep worrying about the impact that a "changed employment situation" (there is no one alive who can spin a euphemism quite like a lawyer who is a Republican, eh?) on an individual.  Thankfully, while I am still an asshole, I am no longer an asshole who ignores the consequences of such an occurrence or fails to appreciate them. 

At 5:59 P.M. on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, the Lake Como, New Jersey Police Department ceased to exist.  Our little town is plagued by a problem that many towns of varying sizes all across America are also plagued by:  Too few dollars chasing too many obligations.   In 2010, New Jersey adopted a 2% cap on property tax levies a municipality is permitted to impose.  In other words, if a town wants to raise its property tax rate by more than 2%, the proposal must be submitted to the townspeople for a vote.  The 2016 budget in Lake Como, as per the Council and the Mayor, as initially drafted (and including our fully-staffed Police Department) would have placed the Borough approximately $650,000 above the 2% cap.  


Effective 6:00 P.M. on Wednesday, May 11, 2016, our little Paradise by the Sea is now policed by the officers of the Belmar Police Department, in whom I have every confidence.  It does not make me feel any less badly for the officers of the Lake Como Police Department who, through no fault of their own - or of anyone's for that matter - went home on Wednesday night after work without a job to which they could return on Thursday morning.  

If only we lived in McKinney, Texas, then we would all have first-world problems to occupy us - such as how many season tickets to purchase in the new high school football stadium that is being built for $62.8 Million.  

-AK 

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