Hope is not a method

For more than a year, our refrigerator has not kept food adequately cold. We compensate by making daily trips to the grocery store, because we don’t trust food that’s been in the refrigerator for more than a day. With hefty tuition bills, we didn’t want to make the financial outlay of buying a new refrigerator.

But during appliance rebate weekend in May, with the large discounts offered by stores desperate for customers, it looked like a good time to buy. While we were shopping, we found a bargain on a washing machine that we would need for a long overdue renovation we’re planning of some rental property. We raised our debt limit higher than we were comfortable, but we got two really good deals. Had we waited until our financial outlook were better, it would have cost us more money.

Then a tree that had been leaning in our backyard for more than 10 years tipped over. We consider it our own personal equivalent of Chapel Hill’s deteriorating police station. We knew we were going to have to spend a significant sum to deal with it at some point; we just hoped we could put it off until after the kids were out of college. But it didn’t work out that way.

The damage could have been worse, but the timing couldn’t. We can’t ignore the tree, because it is being held up by two other trees that caught it as its roots gave way, and the trunk hangs several feet over an OWASA easement scheduled to be mowed this summer. We can’t return the refrigerator and washer after this length of time. We can’t put off the renovation, because it must be done while the property is empty. Without a tenant, we have to carry the costs of the property without any rental income coming in.

So we’re boxed into spending money we don’t have.

We hope the town council’s decision to sell the bonds and start construction on the library doesn’t turn out this way. We hope that the police station won’t fall apart at a time when the town doesn’t have the money to spend to fix it. While we have to do some juggling in such a pickle, the town has an easy out – raise our taxes.

We hope the police station holds up a while longer – at least until our children are out of college.
– Nancy Oates

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  1. Runner

     /  June 9, 2010

    Speaking of spending choices…

    Since the Chapel Hill Government and the University are so generous with their money, there is a small industry growing in Chapel Hill and Orange County offering so-called support for the needy or at-risk population.

    Some of these programs are worthy of support and some are not. The unworthy programs don’t result in measurable benefits for the needy.

    A lot of time, these unworthy programs are just poorly designed experiments that give local students volunteer hour credits or support someone’s resume’ as a community leader.

    I would like to see an accounting of tax money used to support these non-govermental aid programs.

  2. Nancy Oates

     /  June 9, 2010

    And government construction projects, too. I was ruminating on what the town would get for the bond money to be spent on roads and sidewalks. Off the top of my head, I think we spent more than $600,000 for, was it 12?, safety islands around town. That’s more than $50K apiece. Had I planned ahead, I would have gathered my husband and unemployed teenagers together, and bid to take on a few islands.

  3. Bill

     /  June 9, 2010

    I cannot wait until someone runs over one of those silly islands with their car and tears the transmission out. (just kidding) Very bad design, at any price. If the idea was to allow people to cross Airport road, they could have painted crosswalk signs. Heck, I would have painted them for $49,999 each and saved money for the town.

  4. Mark Marcoplos

     /  June 9, 2010

    So each island cost the equivalent of 20 Orange County taxpayer’s contribution to the military budget.

  5. Bill

     /  June 9, 2010

    Yeah, dude- let’s just stop all the wars and then we can afford such folly even better. I love the way you think!

  6. Steve

     /  June 9, 2010

    Mark takes every chance he can get to show off how his calculator works. It’s that cool ‘divide’ button that is so darned fascinating.

    I’d be willing to cut the military budget in half – if Mark would be willing to cut the County budget in half, as well. Then, people could keep more of their income and politicians of all stripes would have much less to waste.

    Gee, that sounds mighty good to me, someone who pays over 50% of his income in a combination of federal, state, local, and sales and excise taxes.

  7. Bill

     /  June 9, 2010

    Steve, you just need to shut up and move away. That will solve all of Chapel Hill’s problems.

  8. js

     /  June 10, 2010

    Stop it, you two! Don’t make me pull this car over!