Round Table discussion
March 23, 2007 @ 12:00 am EDT
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This morning we conducted an “round Table” discussion. These meetings tend to have a tentative agenda, that is, we wind up talking about things other than what we thought we would discuss. No matter. There are so many issues that are important to Long Island, we could start anywhere.
Taxes and multiple layers of government, and numerous school districts is where we began and that dominated most of the meeting.
The general consensus was that taxes are hampering our competitive edge and discouraging some people from moving here.
Here are some of the observations on schools;
- We have too many layers of management in our schools.
- Teachers use the example of the wealthiest districts to set the pay scales of teachers in less wealthy districts. In the next round of negotiations the process is repeated, jack-sawing the pay scales ever upward.
- There are far too many school districts
- Politicians see the same problems as the rest of us, but are fearful of being removed from office if they serve the people and not those vested interests
We spoke briefly about fire departments and how inefficient the resources are spent there.
Paid fire departments in wealthy northern Virginia spend less per capita on fire safety services than their “volunteer” counterparts on Long Island with no compromise in the service to the community. In fact the service is better because their is always a staff available.
These two issues are large burdens on the taxpayers and they can be addressed without compromising quality. Furthermore, there are some districts that are poorly run and corruption is no stranger. Regardless of the assets thrown at them they under perform. There is no agency big enough to audit all these entities.
Finally we spoke about energy. Alternative energy was discussed and we agreed that government bodies could lead the way by putting high efficiency projects into their own buildings. Alternative energy generation has not been fostered in any significant way. (Exceptions are the towns of Brookhaven and Babylon have adopted “Energy Star” specifications in their residential building codes.)