Thursday, May 7, 2009

City Mortgaged AGAIN for Headlines

Today's APPress is a classic example of the Asbury Park Council's effective use of the only daily paper here as a free advertising tool. Trouble is it's deceptive advertising!
Last night's meeting was chock ablock with photo ops and puffery.
The Press today is filled with stories - old and new - of the usual government grants and loans -- most already reported earlier -- to give the appearance that "The Five Big Spenders" are saving the city again. Only what the stories didn't cover is the 4% tax rise necessitated by this year's overspending.
The excess spending required an ordinance to raise the state-mandated spending cap to 3.5%.

The $15 million in stimulus money being touted is comprised of only $5 million that the city doesn't have to pay back. The news report doesn't tell you what interest rate we'll have to pay for a portion of the simulus money. (Most news sources would give the current rate as a guide.) A mystery portion, also not detailed in the APP report, is an interest free loan. Both interest-free and interest loans will add to our total debt picture when we go to the muni market to either refloat our existing multi-million dollar bond anticipation note, which comes due this June, or bond for it, which will require our going for a new credit rating from the newly chastened credit rating agencies, who can be expected to be a lot more critical now.
Once again we're being spoon fed pablum and told a bedtime story like a bunch of children.
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