; Life is like champagne......: 2010-01-17

Friday, January 22, 2010

Treasurer's Report

I am now in my third month of being Town Treasurer with the process starting to feel a little smoother for me. I have learned so much about about the workings of the town hall, how to work with others and what needs to be done.
For me it has always been my job and how it can help people within the town hall and the town. Already I have felt I have made an impact. Yes you do have to be careful not to step on other employee's toes, there is a union involved but I think I have managed to avoid this issue.
What have I done so far? The Driveway/Erosion Bonds are the big ongoing project, still being revamped and now a new person taking over for me to help. I am currently working on three big projects which are Pensions(I am a trustee), the upcoming budget and energy efficiency of street lighting in town.
The Pension in my view is huge since it is Fire fighter's and town employee's retirement and it seems to have been not looked at close enough. We pay a pretty big fee to an advisor and separate management company that seems to only meet once a year along with not much advising or change of fund strategy. This is based off of what I see when I go to my financial advisor.
The budget for next year is just going in to planning. Like all other household's, business' and towns, everyone is looking at every penny. So when someone puts in a request such as buying two new typewriters at $700 a piece to type permits that can be done from a computer, the backup of why it is needed is required. Cost effectiveness, saving time, and efficient record keeping is important. So why would you not use a computer to do all of this? Comfort level, not willing to learn something new and the need to feel in control. I am sure there will be backlash when it is denied.
We are a small town but we do have street lights in two major intersections of town, the schools and town buildings. I am going to look in to efficient street lighting since we pay an incredible amount of money monthly to the electric company. The DOE also has grants available for this and our town just brought on a grant writer, a big plus! This research project is fun for me and if we can save money and go green, that is a plus for the town.
I only wish I could devote more hours to this position as there is no requirements on the time given. This month is less since I am out someone to watch my daughter but it should be back to about 12 hours a week next month and more in the fall. I make the most out of the time I have in the office, as I have seen with many town employees who work there with me.

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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Visit to the Garden Center

We visited the local garden center in St. John and got to see all of the beautiful orchids and flowers. These were my favorite orchids, the colors are so vibrant!

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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

NFL and American Samoa

I watched 60 Minutes on Sunday night and they profiled American Samoa in reference to the percentage of NFL players that are requested from this small island. Interesting story and of course timing it to the Superbowl coming within the next month. If you did not see it, you can find it here.
What bothered me about the story was the fact that the players in the NFL that came from American Samoa did not seem to give back to the community, at least they did not point it out in the story. The only instance they showed was one of the players built a very big home for the parents, looked like it stuck out like a sore thumb in a community that was struggling with the tuna industry to stay and dealing with natural disasters. If the NFL does focus on this island for players, why don't they contribute to the schools with supplies? Even used practice equipment? The story points out the problem with having supplies available, but seem to overcome this issue with determination. I will be curious to see if this story promotes any efforts to help them.

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Monday, January 18, 2010

I spy a.....

A Mangrove Cuckoo! Spotted this bird on the last day I was on the island of St. John. Showed up at the house we were staying at, more common in the mangroves so this was a surprise!

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Sunday, January 17, 2010

Wild wanderers....

Donkey's wander freely on the island, about 500 live on a 20 square mile island. Good thing the speed limit average is 20 MPH, turn one sharp corner and there they are in the middle of the road!

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