This is real. I don’t see it too much here in my small mountain town because so much of our economy is local and we pretty much provide for ourselves, but communities across the country are suffering. Friends I talk to in other places see the neighborhoods in foreclosure, the long lines at job fairs, and the empty restaurants. So I wanted to go search around the web for examples of what is going on in different places, and these are a few of the things I came up with. I know some of you don’t think it’s all that bad, but people are suffering out there…
- Brad Walters, a circulation manager at the Oakland Public Library, said the library will cut programs for the disabled and elderly, its bookmobile and its literacy programs.
- In Millersburg in upper Dauphin County, the borough fired its police chief last month in what it described as a cost-cutting move to avoid a tax increase, although it will continue to operate its police department with three full-time officers.
- The Missouri Department of Higher Education sent a memo to the presidents and chancellors of all two and four year state institutions Tuesday that further revealed the country’s economic struggles. The memo asked programs to cut their budgets between 15 and 20 percent due to a $340 million budget deficit.
- There’s also no money for children’s tee ball, or soccer, baseball or flag football. No money for a free shuttle service for the elderly. No money for most inner-city “fight back” programs that tackle blight.
- In Chicago, Mayor Richard Daley plans to lay off more than 900 city workers and eliminate nearly 1,350 vacant jobs to help cover a $469 million shortfall.
- The previous cuts were painful, but slicing local aid ““ which funds things like teachers, trash collections, and snow plowing — is where budget problems begin to impact residents in their local communities.
- In Phelan’s proposal, 20 jobs will be cut, including 15 teachers, for a total three-year loss of 54 posts. Seven sub-varsity sports would also be dropped, the sports fee raised from $125 to $200 per athlete per sport and a $50 fee for middle and high school clubs introduced
- In Oakland, Calif., an estimated $42 million deficit has Mayor Ron Dellums proposing shutting down City Hall one day a week, eliminating 84 city jobs, imposing hiring freezes and cutting other services.
- “Our goal is to help seniors in our community maintain their independence,” said Moira Munns, head of Natick’s Human Services and Council on Aging departments. Like many other communities, Natick’s senior center handles requests for fuel and grocery assistance from residents of all ages, and helps elders prepare tax forms and choose appropriate medical coverage. “Especially with the hard times coming up, services are going to be needed even more,” said Chesmore. “The more people are hurting, the more they come to us.”
It’s easy for me to forget that the crap is hitting the fan at full speed in many communities because of where I live – we have no big business, no corporate jobs, no manufacturing facilities. We take care of ourselves up here between services for residents and tourism. Tourism is down this year, but because of our status as a ski destination, people with money do in fact still continue to stream into town. So I do forget that things are bad out there sometimes. If you are not feeling the pinch yet, it’s probably only a matter of time. Keeping this type of news in mind helps me to remember that I could have it much worse, and helps me to keep preparing for the inevitable by saving more money and making sure any big purchases are absolutely necessary.