It Won’t Be Cheap

“Give it a few years. You’ll get there.”

That was mayor Lane’s response to Mike Giacomo, who had just made the comment that Keene should invest its money in projects “that encourage Keene to get younger” and not on non-profit senior centers that won’t accomplish that goal. The mayor’s remark received laughter from many in attendance, but not from all. Not from the “youngsters” who will be set to foot the bill.

This all took place at Thursday’s CIP public hearing. where one of the main issues on the table was a new $36,000 feasibility study which would explore moving the current Senior Center on Court St to the city’s Recreation Center. Of the five who spoke favorably of the study, only two were Keene residents. Four other speakers, all residents, had concerns with the long-term impact of such a move by the city and questions concerning what and how much the next step of the project would entail. The answers to those questions couldn’t be fully addressed and will instead have to wait until the study (if passed) is complete. Of course, we can all speculate. I’m guessing it won’t be cheap.

To be absolutely clear, I have nothing against seniors or the senior center. I do acknowledge how important this institution is to the health and well being of our community and I wish them well. And yes, as was mentioned, I know my day will come. But I cannot support the giving of tax-based handouts to non-profit organizations like Meals on Wheels, the Community Kitchen, or the Senior Center. No matter how important or popular they may be.

I do truly respect these outside agencies and the work they do for the community, as well as those who donate their time and energy to support them. That’s the way that it should be. I also know that the best way to destroy good charities and non-profit organizations is to get government involved in their funding and operations. It doesn’t happen overnight, but socializing these types of programs only leads to one outcome.

It goes just like this: the first year it’s a $25,000 study. Next year it’ll be a $3 million bond to build a new wing on the Recreation Center. That and don’t forget to add yearly requests of $5,000 or more on top of the $15,000 the center is already receiving from the city and before you know it, Voila! The next day the entire agency is fully funded by the taxpayers (aka: other people’s money) and we have a brand new entitlement program that we’ll never be able to get rid of, run by a wasteful and inefficient government.

But it’s alright. I’m told that one day I’ll “get there.” One day I’ll understand.

Except at this rate, what will be waiting for me when I finally do get there? And will I want any part of it? Keene is currently pushing around $1.6 million in annual spending increases with no end in sight. The population isn’t growing and businesses can’t move in fast enough to replace the ones leaving. Every budget and spending increase is passed by city and school officials who clearly don’t understand the long term ramifications of their actions. Many of the residents of Keene who do actually vote only do so to satisfy their own self interests with no concern for the following generations who will be forced to deal with the growing tab.

Keene, I know you don’t want to hear it from me, but you have a serious spending problem. Please get some help before it’s too late.

Keene Sentinel Letter to the Editor – 3/7/17

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