Salem's got plenty of money to shovel at consultants to pay for a phony environmental impact statement (one that isn't even going to bother looking at the climate change impact of another bridge), but no money to provide the kinds of amenities that people need -- a library so that kids become readers rather than reprobates, for example.
We are getting a regular bludgeoning with reminders of America's collapsing infrastructure (Katrina, Gustav, the Minneapolis Bridge, the 520 Bridges in Washington, the "emergency repair" to the Capital Street Bridge here in Salem, and so on).
At some point, people will stop agreeing to pretend that money taken from taxpayers elsewhere simply materializes from outer space. When the money really runs out and really important stuff can't be done, and hunger increases with heating bills this winter, people are going to be outraged that places like Salem would allow $5M to be dumped into a black hole at the airport rather than redirected to some place where it would do some good.
So, hey, don't forget to go to the Anderson Room at the Salem Public Library at 5:30 p.m. so that you can watch the "Oversight Team" do some more of that "Oversight" thing --- making oversights left and right, nodding when the engineering firm consultants say to nod, and happily continuing to fund the $666M fraud that is the "Salem River Crossing."
City of Salem officials have cut expenses to balance the budget this year, but a looming $5 million shortfall next year could lead to serious cuts to city services, city manager Linda Norris said. . . .
Parks and recreation, the library, urban development, police and fire are among the city services backed by general-fund dollars. It's too early to determine what specific programs are at risk, Norris said.
Early estimates show the city is likely to have a $5 million shortfall in its 2009-10 general fund.
City leaders previously had projected a $3 million shortfall.. . .
For example, soaring fuel costs make it expensive to keep police cars and fire trucks rolling. Unleaded gasoline is costing the city 52 percent more than a year ago. The cost of diesel has increased 62 percent.
[Ask two of the "Oversight Team" members (Salem Council member Dan Clem and Marion County Commissioner Sam Brentano) about a warning SKATS, the local government "transportation planning organization" heard about a year and a half ago, when a citizen warned SKATS that oil at $100/barrel would soon be a fond memory and that the first priority for municipalities and counties should be figuring out how to protect vital services from the sure-to-skyrocket costs for diesel, asphalt, and all materials either made from or moved by oil ... which is everything that local governments buy, actually. Except for Lloyd Chapman, not a single member of the SKATS board appears to have understood the warning, much less even stirred enough to ask a staffer to look into the issue.]. . .
On the revenue side, softening real estate prices and less construction has had a ripple effect.
[Which is exactly what you would predict if you understand that being at Peak Oil means that energy is and forever will be much more expensive than we have experienced in the past, and that its price will continue to rise FASTER than inflation -- so all that sprawl that the third bridge is supposed to service will not be built, and the pricey downtown condos may not get finished at all or will be converted to apartments.]. . .
Salem also faced a $5 million shortfall in the fiscal 2008-09 budgets. This year's budget troubles resulted in the city ending the library bookmobile service.
What will become of the city-supported aquatics program — another item targeted for cuts but given a reprieve — remains in limbo. The city has an agreement with Salem-Keizer School District, which owns the Walker and Olinger pools, to operate the facilities and share maintenance costs. . . .