Monday, August 1, 2011

Through The Looking Glass

It is said the Fabulous Florida Keys are Paradise, and it may be so in some way that extends beyond the simplistic notion of the Keys as vacation paradise.

In a world that seems to be bound for economic shrinkage, whether we little people want it or not, the fabulous Florida Keys seem to somehow escape the fate meted out to lesser peoples. How do I know? Because I read the newspaper.

If we read the Key West Citizen we find out that the city of Key West is awarding it's elected commissioners real wages around twenty thousand dollars a year up from the current measly $8500. That sends an odd message in a time of austerity but consider this: all of us who earn less than a hundred grand a year in the city are to get a two percent raise. I find that news astonishing as we read of bankruptcy, failure and endless unemployment Up North. Then consider Monroe County which after years of chaotic maladministration is running sufficiently well that five percent raises are proposed all round. County commissioners lack the nerve to approve the raises for their employees but nevertheless the good news remains good.
Let's not forget the little town of Layton, not far from the Snake Creek Bridge pictured above. Their budget of almost two hundred thousand is facing a shortfall of about ten percent and those fine upstanding city leaders can't bring themselves to balance their minuscule budget by raising taxes so instead they -gasp!- dipped into their reserves. However that's not as dire as it sounds as they have well over a year's worth of operating funds in their reserves, about $290,000 before the dipping began.

All this sunny economic well being stands in stark contrast to the reports we hear of financial Armageddon being visited on cities Up North and in Europe. Unemployment in the Keys is lower than average but that's not because we have lots of jobs. It's just that when people lose their jobs down here they bugger off back up to their families on the mainland so our stats look good by comparison. Not great at around 6%, but still not bad all things considered.

Life is different in the Keys not just because we still attract tourists, people who perhaps would be going further afield in good economic times come o theKeys no matter what when the going gets tough. The newspaper also says property values in Key West are going up and thus property taxes upon which we depend are apparently increasing. That and strong tourism means this is the land of milk and honey as our national economy shrinks.

I never ceased to be amazed by my good fortune living in the Keys.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


Chuck and the Pheebs said...

It's been said that people are give to drink in good times - and even more in bad.

Drink as an escape.

To this end, Key West represents escapism to a large swath of North America. As long as it exists, people will find their way to the end of the line for a cool one and an escape from the 'real' world on the Mainland.

Yes - we are indeed lucky.

Conchscooter said...

May hey keep coming and drinking. Though not perhaps,in giant mega big cruise ships...

Anonymous said...

If at the end of the month my wife and I are short of cash we have two choices in order to return to budgetary balance. We can cut spending next month or increase revenue by working harder or smarter. Sometimes in a fit of extreme reasonableness we do both.

Conchscooter said...

I wonder how often you come up short? Why not fire the butler instead?
The point you are missing is that local governments are doing just fine down here and I'm okay with government doing it's job within budget.
When government works some spoilsports just get mad.