22 October 2015

Back to Normal

Normal temps, that is.  It was 27° at our place this morning, but is supposed to rocket upward into the low 40s today. For the record, 27 is the average low for this time of year; we've been some 10 degrees warmer because of all the rain clouds which prevent the heat from radiating overnight. Either way, there was frost on the car windows.

Many of the leaves, mostly fallen from the trees now, are plastered to paved surfaces from all the rain. It's been dry for the last couple of days, and is supposed to be so today as well. That's the first time in a month we've had more a single day without rain. And of course, it's to be rainy - changing into a rain/snow mix by the beginning of next week - for the foreseeable future, as temps continue to slide.

* * * * *

The Anchorage mayor, under pressure to increase revenue due to the statewide shortfall - which is in turn due to the low, low price of oil - has proposed raising municipal fees on everything. 

Well, practically everything. He is floating a plan to increase the fees by proposing "structure changes and inflation-based increases to several hundred city fines and fees."

Let's see what's affected:
  • animal shelters
  • cemetery plots 
  • speeding tickets
  • fines for parking in a handicapped space to double from $250 to $500
  • fees for animal boarding, licensing and vaccination
  • fines for texting while driving
  • fines for running over an animal with a motorcycle
  • food facility operating fees and plan review permits
  • the cost of a child care center license 
  • a new $25 fee, so that residents would be able to rent “humane” animal traps for cats and dogs 
  • a surcharge for using a new electronic plan review service [for building permits - Ed.] that is set to launch early next year
  • from Parks and Recreation, a proposal to rent hand-pulled golf carts at $5 for three hours, and golf clubs at $7 for three hours
  • the parks department also wants to change punch card systems and special hours for facilities in favor of daily admission rates and seasonal passes
The list goes on and on. The only things certain is that everything is going to cost more, and that the Assembly will rubber-stamp the increases.

A fee for breathing isn't on the published list, but it's only a matter of time. 
If you drive a car I'll tax the street
If you try to sit I'll tax your seat
If you get too cold I'll tax the heat
If you take a walk I'll tax your feet
 (Lyrics from Tax Man, by the Beatles)
 The only thing unexpected in the linked article about the fee increase proposal is a statement from the Mayor that cost of "doing business" in Anchorage has increased by 46% since 2001. He doesn't explain (of course) how that could be possible while the Consumer Price Index shows an annual increase of only 1.7 percent or so.

What was it Disraeli said?  Oh, yes:
"There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics."


Well Seasoned Fool said...

There must be correspondence courses for local level politicians on how to bamboozle the public. The words seem to uniform as you hear them in all states and cities. Seldom do you hear of cost cutting and cost savings measures.

Rev. Paul said...

WSF, I've been making that accusation for several decades. People used to think I was paranoid, but now most get it.

Cathy said...

Better start practicing to take fewer breaths per hour.

As for politicians and their avarice . . . . you might find this interview very interesting. It's Book TV's interview of Peter Schweiizer. 3 hours.


Rev. Paul said...

Cathy, even Anchorage's politicians aren't stupid enough to try that. For now. And thanks for the reference.

deborah harvey said...

when we moved here the college said it needed bigger tuition because there were very many students.
the next year they wanted a tuition increase because there were too few students.
you can't have it both ways.
but they did!

Rev. Paul said...

deborah, that sounds about right ... for a liberal/progressive institution. UAA raises tuition annually, and has a different reason for so doing, each and every time.

Chickenmom said...

I'm just tired of all the politics and politicians. The silent majority is just too, too silent.....

Rev. Paul said...

Agreed, ma'am. I'm beginning to wonder whether they'll speak up at all.

Hunter said...

All those fees, increases, and new charges...but zero discussion of sales tax, like the rest of the localities in Alaska? Even, across the board on everyone; not targeting specific users? Anchorage angers me.

Rev. Paul said...

Hunter, Anchorage angers many of us. We live here only because it's where our jobs are. Re: a sales tax, when Anchorage voters eliminated that in the '80s, that also specified that voters have to approve a new one - and they've voted against it so many times that the elected folks are afraid to bring it up again.