Sunday, November 27, 2005

11/23/2005 - Leominster, MA

The coolest thing I saw in Leominster was a collection of letters between a Union soldier and his wife. I need to collect my thoughts on those, so perhaps I will post on it in the next few days. In the meantime, I will talk about something else of interest to me -- the Leominster Annual Budget, which I found in .pdf form on their website (I am, after all, a virtual tourist).

This past November, I voted in our elections even though the only candidates were running for Cambridge City Council (about which I know precious little) or Cambridge School Council (about which I know even less). I voted to the best of my ability, and vowed to learn more about my local politics. Being the financial sort of person that I am, the first thing I tried to do was find our cities budget document. I still haven't found it.

I think it is with kudos that Leominster puts their budget up on the web. It suggests that folks in the city want to know that they spend $360,000 on keeping the street lit at night or close to $900,000 on their libraries. Health insurance has ballooned from just under $8m in 2004 to over $10m in 2006 (a worrying story playing out in cities across the U.S.). These are facts upon which politicians can campaign and constituents can vote.

As impressed as I am with Leominster's push for democracy, I would humbly recommend one addition to the information they provide -- something about income. In Cambridge, where property tax rates are about as low as one can imagine, we still see politicians out every year, pressing to lower tax rates further. Some basic information on the income would be most appreciated.

14,000 steps today. Cheers,

10 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice article and nice blog, too...

Viva Leominster Mass....



Twin Cities News Blog Mag
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