Monday, August 26, 2013

Aberdeen’s Death Spiral

If you’ve been living in Aberdeen a while, have you noticed a change?

Have you noticed that big projects never seem to get done anymore? Transit station, swim club, Glass Anchor, senior housing, everything seems to be in limbo.

Have you noticed the money problems getting worse? That Aberdeen no longer maintains a rainy day fund, that its credit rating has been cut, or that it might, on occasion, need to raid the public library’s coffers?

Have you noticed retirees increasingly leaving Aberdeen to escape the high property taxes?

Have you noticed more vacant properties in the area? (Ten more sheriff sales scheduled for September.)

Have you noticed certain programs getting cut and the money never seems to be restored?

Have you noticed few seem to care and nobody does anything about it?

This is what a death spiral looks like. It starts slow and nobody cares. It speeds up and everyone pretends someone else will fix the problem. And then . . . collapse.

Need more evidence?
2006 Pension Contributions:
Police and Firemen - $238,883
Public Employees - $51,558

2013 Pension Contributions:
Police and Firemen - $945,052
Public Employees - $248,170

Percent Increase over 7 Years:
Police and Firemen - 396%
Public Employees – 481%

2007 Employee Group Health - $810,000 (2006 numbers unavailable)
2013 Employee Group Health - $1,640,804
% Increase over 6 Years – 203%

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