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January 11, 2023


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Is what they did financially responsible? Information presented at last night's budget meeting suggests that this may not have been the best time for this risky venture.

The consultants raised concerns about Salem's solvency. They looked at 9 similar municipalities and declared that (paraphrased): "Hard decisions will have to be made. Soon the city will not be able to pay their bills." Asked how we compare to the other cities they looked at, they responded (paraphrased): "The difference is that their senses of urgency relates to a 10 year planning period whereas, in Salem, the sense of urgency will be felt during the upcoming 5 years.

We have seen this show before. Increased levies and gas taxes were already mentioned as possible sources of future revenue. The upcoming budget discussions may get ugly. At-large members can be quite vocal.

Air service will not bankrupt us but it will force a modicum of other sacrifices within the zero sum game.

We could limit the damage to our budget by including a 'not to exceed' clause in the approval. It is $2.4 million today. It will be millions more after an agreement is signed. Governments hate abandoning sunk costs. If they spend millions, they can either spend millions more or admit failure and bad judgement. It will be easier to spend more.

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