Ante up For Plows
By Jody Reese
I read a fascinating article in last weekís Hippo, about how the highway department doesnít have enough equipment to adequately clean our streets after a snow storm. Most other cities, the article went on to say, contract out some of the street plowing to private contractors. But not Manchester.
As I wrote a few weeks ago, the problem is not with the highway department or any of its workers, itís with its leadership. And that starts with the Board of Mayor and Aldermen. They set the budget; they tell the highway department it canít have more plows; they say no private contractors.
Perhaps, the aldermen are just doing their jobs by keeping city government costs down and our tax rates in line with other area cities. True enough, Manchester must keep its tax rate comparable to other area municipalities or it will lose business to those towns. Hopefully, Governor John Lynchís new funding plan will help Manchester cut its tax rate so we can better compete with those towns.
But thatís besides the point. First we need clean streets.
Not having enough equipment or people to clear the streets after a snow storm has hidden costs. It costs us in lost business; it costs in auto accidents; it costs in hurt people and it costs in our competitiveness with towns that clean their streets faster.
These are the costs the aldermen are not considering when they slap themselves on the back for keeping the tax rate under $28.
Will our tax rate go up if more people are brought on to help with the clean up? Probably. There is no such thing as a free lunch. Good government costs money.
I know that the management over on William Loeb Drive would like to see all government dismantled, but the reality is that government provides some very basic services. Snow removal in New Hampshire is one of them.
The aldermen need to get over this idea that itís ďgood enoughĒ for Manchester. It isnít good enough for Manchester. We can be the best. We can attract more business to the city. Hire an economic development director already. We donít need to be a city where itís who you know, rather than what you know.
Itís time the old boys in city hall left city hall. Maybe that way we could get our streets cleared quickly after a snowfall.
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