Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Toyota.... why did it take so long

In the WSJ today, we learn that Toyota has had customer complaints about sticky gas pedals since 2000. The NHTSA Chief (National Highway Transportation Admin) David Strictland is apparently so pissed that he is seeking to exercise his subpoena power and fines and even stopping of production. The secretive Japanese society is to blame for the problem according to Toyota.. it's a mindset thing they have about sharing.

Our regulatory body, overseeing this for many years, IS, as much to be held accountable as any of the Toyota people. We have opened many investigations and let Toyota slide to much, and the Feds know it now. Look for some of the Japanese to fall on a sword over this and perhaps, one small shakeup in the NHTSA.

Running to be a Town Meeting Member

If you ever thought about getting involved in our Town form of government and running for a place at the large table at Town Meeting, you might consider doing this now.

There are 68 TMM's up for re-election. As of this date, it's unclear how many will run again. February 16th is the last day for TMM members to declare if they are not running again.

To get on the ballot for Aprils election, one only needs 25 signatures from any registered voter in their prescient. The form needed is at the Clerks office at the Town Hall. The signatures must be turned in no later than February 23rd. I will volunteer to help any new member gather signatures.

Budget cuts in Framingham

According to CFO Kelly, the Towns 209 million dollar budget for 2011, will be reduced by 4 to 8%. Things still up in the air... Addition litigation funds for the SMOC suit, wage adjustments for Police, fire and public works still not settled for 2009 and 2010. Along with the 450,000 dollars for Quinn funding that the cops want the Town to pay.

About three quarters of the budget is funded by property taxes, 14% comes from State Aid and 9% comes in from local receipts. The 2011 revenue includes an estimated 2.4% increase in the tax levy, a 2% decrease in a total State aid decrease of about 1 million dollars and no state funding for the Quinn Bill. There was talk last night of dropping the tax levy to 2% which would reduce revenue by 762,000 and would drop the average tax bill by about 25.00 dollars.

Police and Fire make up half of the total budget, while Public Works is at 19% and the remaining 25 departments make up 31% of the municipal budget.

In my opinion, the hand writing was on the wall last year about declining revenues and out of control spending on things that will not generate income or stop the bleeding. Town Meeting will be faced with hard questions about the budget and while everyone I know has had to cut back, it's time for TMM's to hold the Town to the same reality as for the rest of us live by and spend money wisely..