Quick Hits 6-15-2011

Downtown Parking

The City of East Grand Forks recently added a Downtown Parking map to the city web site for visitors who are not as familiar with the area.  As the Council discusses parking options, the City hopes to maximize the use of existing resources to support our downtown.Â

The Growth Ponzi Scheme

My friends at Strong Towns are offer a primer on the Growth Ponzi scheme this week.   Very simply, the Growth Ponzi scheme is the phenomenon in which governments use future growth to fund present maintenance needs.  So, at the end of the first full maintenance cycle, there is little or no money left to reinvest in infrastructure maintenanance.  Most governments face this issue as our post-World War II developments age into their 60s and 70s.  Don’t take my word for it.  Charles Marohn is far more eloquent than me.  This should be required reading for all students of local government and anyone else generally interested in municipal finance.  Links to parts 1-3 are below.  The series continues throughout the week.

The Growth Ponzi Scheme, Part 1
The Growth Ponzi Scheme, Part 2

The Growth Ponzi Scheme, Part 3

Is Customer Service Dead?

Bill Bott, of Change and Innovation Agency, seems to think so.  In this Governing article, the consultant extraordinaire argues that the bottom line is, in fact, the bottom line.  We give lip service to service and friendliness.  But, at the end of the day, customers care solely about price and results.  Interesting take.

Four-day weeks

From the B&G Report, a new report from the Education Commission of the States showed that four-day school weeks resulted in cost savings of at most 5.43 percent.  In an analysis that may be glaringly obvious, fixed costs substantially reduce what may seem to be a savings of 20 percent (1 day out of 5).  In most cases, the savings were between 0.4 and 2.5 percent. This level of savings may be why the four-day trend is quickly losing steam. The State of Utah recently ended its experiment with four-day weeks after it found much inconvenience to workers and the public while saving significantly less than projected.

Quote of the Week

“That just seems crazy.”

WDAZ News Anchor Charlie Johnson in reponse to a report that the City of East Grand Forks may have to close the Red River State Recreational Area in a state government shutdown despite a City offer to keep the park open with local (non-state) resources.