Highly Effective Communities Cover the Basics

The so-called arctic blast, and the resulting water crisis, has exposed some communities.  Whether the direct cause was aging water pipes, shifting soil or pipes not buried deep enough, some cities and counties were simply not prepared for prolonged cold weather.  Current political leaders are now being accused of lack of leadership.  Perhaps that is part of the problem in some communities, but it also points out the fact that the basics were not covered.

The basics are those things in a community that are vitally important, but do not receive much discussion until things go wrong.  Water service is basic.  Police and fire protection are basic.  Financial stability is basic.  Citizens do not really care to discuss these things on a daily basis.  For example, do you know the rating of your city bonds?  Do you know if your community has a capital improvements plan?   Probably not.  These are not very juicy items for discussion.  But you would certainly be concerned if you picked up the newspaper tomorrow morning and saw that you bonds had been downgraded, or that you needed to get a front end alignment because your car struck an unexpected pothole.  Much of this is about financial management, long term planning and prioritizing.

So what can you do?  Get a copy of your community’s budget and see how much money is set aside for replacement of things that have a long term life.  It will probably be in a category known as “Replacement reserves.”

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