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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