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Friday, Sep. 30, 2016

February 19, 2012

Posted Wednesday, February 22, 2012, at 1:44 PM

Normally, we would have a Malden City Council meeting tomorrow night. However, tomorrow is President's Day which is a legal holiday, and the City of Malden will be closed except for essential personnel.

The city council will meet Tuesday evening. There is a short agenda, but it includes some important items that usually attract everyone's attention where they pay the most attention. I'm speaking of your pocketbook. Politicians like to speak of "pocketbook issues" at the national level, but we have some issues right here in our hometown.

Tuesday evening there will be a representative from LAGERS at our meeting. LAGERS is the acronym for the Missouri Local Government Retirement System for municipal employees. It is my understanding that we are to hear about two different plans by which, if we choose one of them, we can enrich our employees' retirement benefits. Because I am into my retirement years, although not by choice, I am very interested in anything that can benefit someone's retirement income. I always quote a former teacher who told me, "If you don't ask the right question then you're not even wrong." The question before the city council, as I see it, will not be: What is the benefit to our employees? The question must be: If the City of Malden grants this additional benefit, will the City of Malden benefit? It will cost us, at present, an unknown amount of money. When we begin to prepare the next city budget, we will need to factor in this additional benefit plus the salary increases our employees must have just to keep pace with inflation. This is the basic conundrum of politics: How do you divide up the public's money? We, as your city government will make the attempt.

The other pocketbook issue is that a representative from Allied Waste is scheduled to appear. The City of Malden currently contracts with Allied Waste to pick up our residential trash. Allied Waste gave us those big blue trash containers we roll down to the curb on the appointed day. I believe that their representative will be seeking approval from your city council of an increase in the monthly fee Allied charges for its services. As I understand it the fee increase is relatively modest. The new rate will be about fifty cents a month more than the current one. Fifty cents is still fifty cents, and annually it is six dollars. Small things have a tendency to add up when you take into consideration all items (both large and small) we must pay for. It is a pocketbook issue just like LAGERS for our employees who also must live and pay bills. To paraphrase the late Senator Everett Dirksen of Illinois, "You spend a million here and you spend a million there and pretty soon you're talking about real money."

Anyway, tomorrow is President's Day, and I would like to include two more quotes. The first is from our first President:

"A government is like a fire, a handy servant, but a dangerous master."

The second quote is from our current President:

"I always believe that ultimately, if people are paying attention, then we get good government and good leadership. And when we get lazy, as a democracy and civically start taking shortcuts, then it results in bad government and politics."

The financial report is as follows:

February 10, 2012

Balance $1,305,893.14

Revenues $54,458.98

Expenses $80,734.53

February 17, 2012

Balance $1,279,617.59

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