Tuesday, July 5, 2011

The City Should Just...

As walking through the city this weekend I kept hearing that beginning to a discussion.  Usually it was the second or third sentence leading into what this City or another was doing wrong.

There's a problem with that logic.  It is short hand.  It's incomplete.

For example, this weekend was the Fourth of July weekend.  Last night there were big fireworks displays in Fort Lauderdale, another in nearby Oakland Park, and lots of people including my neighbors were shooting them off.  My dog was freaking out from the ones that whistle, and the bass note of the mortar shells that set off the "Chrysanthemums".

Beautiful night if you're not a dog or your breathing is normal.  Mine is, she hated it.  It's done and there's always a bit of a feeling of "Can We Do It Again?" when it is.

This person is one of those self professed "I will never go to Wilton Manors" people.  Never mind that this took place on Wilton Drive ...

His thought was that Wilton Drive needed a fireworks display.  "The City Should Just" pay for one.  I immediately said "Small city, only 12000 people, how are we going to pay for a professional one?".  At the same time, another friend responded "They used to have one and it got too expensive.".

In this time of austerity and the Republican Induced Great Depression we're in, my thoughts are that any new services that are to be provided by any government agencies must be revenue neutral or revenue positive.

In other words if they spend a buck, they need to get that buck back or more.

A fireworks display is a wonderful thing but really difficult to put a price on.  It's frightfully expensive with insurance, professional people to set up the display and then break it down after it's been fired.  It can be visible for miles, so why would someone want to pay for admission for something like that when they can stand back a block and get "almost as good a show".

When I was a kid we could stand in my front yard and see the fireworks from neighboring Haddonfield, 3 miles away.  When I got older, I'd drive to the park at Cooper Creek near Cuthbert Road and see Philadelphia's fireworks reflect on the creek as well as five different smaller displays from Haddonfield, Haddon Township, Oaklyn, Pennsauken, and Cherry Hill in New Jersey.  Believe me THAT was beautiful.  Not one but SIX professional fireworks displays at once.  You didn't know where to look to "ooooh!".

12000 people in the city.  Some people look at fireworks as a nuisance.  Should we pay for a fireworks display with their money?  Who decides what kind of a display you get and how big?  How much per person do we spend? 

There are a lot of decisions that a small city would make if they were the big city in the county, but the decision really would come down to what is more important.  There's a certain Sewage Lift Station that comes to mind that will need replacement shortly and that's where I'd spend that money.

There are some serious benefits to living in a small town or a small city, there are also limitations.  It's all about Balance.  Choosing what is important to a Tourist isn't necessarily important to someone who uses their town as a bedroom community.

But the Tourists don't vote, except with their feet.

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