How to drown a town with a gallon of milk

By Chris Story

About a year ago, I stopped drinking milk or eating any dairy whatsoever.  Before you accuse me of harming the economy, let me point out the prices of the alternate products, you could call it my own personal economic stimulus program for the Homer area.
So what’s milk got to do with anything?
At Monday’s night’s Homer City Council meeting, there was a wildly misinformed discussion on how much was spent of the $20,000 that was allocated for a survey and feasibility study of the bike path off the base of the Homer Spit up to the airport on Kachemak Drive.
The mayor suggested the figure of $3,000 having been spent, Councilmen Burgess thought it was $10,000 and still others said it was all spent.
The city manager weighed in by looking around the room for his public works director, “He’ll know.” He was not to be found so the city manager aimed his arrow at just over half.
The actual number turned out to be $17,500.
For the sake of easy math, let’s use the total allotted of $20,000 for the initial survey (all wasted as it turns out they surveyed the wrong location).  To generate $20,000 in sales tax, you must sell approximately $444,000 in goods or services.
For example, you would need to sell roughly 90,000 gallons of milk to generate the $20,000 so carelessly spent by the City Manager.  Hey, this is fun.  Guess how many pounds of hamburger you’d need to sell to generate the $20,000 in sales tax?  111,000 pounds, or roughly 55 tons, or about four end dump loads.  That’s some serious meat.
Ok, one more.  To generate $20,000 in sales tax, you’d need to sell 148,000 loaves of bread; that’s a lot of bread.
The point is that in the same meeting where you are told you are not paying enough in sales tax on our nonprepared foods, the same body has no clue as to how much they are spending – and clearly no control on where.  Would you have spent nearly $20,000 to see about putting on an addition to your home, without knowing first how you are going to pay for the expansion?  Of course not. You spend your own money carefully.
When you step inside the booth to  cast your vote on Oct. 1, consider the 90,000 gallons of milk.
Welcome two new voices to the Homer City Council. Send the message that every dollar spent matters to the person you took it from.

Chris Story is a lifelong Alaskan and broker/owner of Story Real Estate. He also hosts “Alaska Matters Radio,” heard Tuesdays from 12:30-1:30 p.m. on KGTL.

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Posted by on Sep 24th, 2013 and filed under Point of View. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

4 Responses for “How to drown a town with a gallon of milk”

  1. million dollar bathrooms? says:

    How can you consider this $20,000 such a big problem with all of the much larger wasteful spending going on?

    This bike path should have been built already, it is extremely dangerous on the very busy Kachemak drive. Why does this group have to fight for money to get this project done when the Burnell people asked, they were immediately given $100,000 for that road which is much less dangerous with hardly any traffic in comparison.

    The city spent $15,000 in one day to hire someone to tell them the HERC building would cost to much too renovate for the Boys and Girls club/ Rec Center. How long did it take for said person to tell the City Council exactly what they wanted to hear? and for $15,000!

    Now they are spending $300,000 on preliminary design for a new $15 Million police/fire station. (in the exact same location that was too expensive to fix up for kids and the community at large)

    Corbin Arno, who is running for city council, won the bid to build 3 bathrooms for one million dollars! Why the heck aren’t you talking about that incredibly wasteful expense?

    • deb says:

      It does make you wonder where their priorities are? they did just abandon the children…let them run the streets in the winter … or go to the library and hang out with the homeless… nice digs there… the city of homer is kind to some and not so much to others… the fire station is fine where it is they should add on to it and increase the size of the cop shop and the fire department where they stand

      they said they could heat the building they threw the little children out of…now they have natural gas and it would heat very easy and cheap. they are LIARS and self serving for their own…give the children back their space…

      as to Arno doing the bathrooms… I have seen a lot of different contractors there.. and I agree it is overspent and over blown and then there is the art… but you cannot blame the people who got work from the city… they are not the ones who voted to spend all that money on bathrooms and bathroom ART

    • Newsroom says:

      Correction: Corbin Arno’s family business was given a contract to the group preparation for the bathrooms – he was not the contractor on the bathrooms. He did not build the bathrooms and was not paid to do that. His was for smaller contract work. The articles in the Homer Tribune reflect this, and do not say he build the four $1.2 million bathrooms.

  2. Homer Prevention project says:

    looking for wasteful spending?

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