Sunday, June 22, 2014

EUREKA NEVADA-----TOWN WITH A PROBLEM LIKE NO OTHER

EAT YOUR HEART OUT DETROIT----THIS TOWN HAS TOO MUCH MONEY.
I'll tell you why later.  For the moment consider that you're a county commissioner--whose job is to spend the money responsibly.  Your town has about 600 people.  The county another 500 or so.  Your budget: A WHOPPING 40 MILLION.

But first an update:  I now have a travel companion.  Our paths crossed right here and we are both headed for Missoula, Montana.  Terrific to have a brilliant friend to share the experience with.

We climb the surrounding hills to get an overview of this small town of 600 or so.

It was an old (1865) remote gold mining town largely vacated---only 2 or 3 blocks long.

With lots of old miner shacks scattered about.
AND THEN-----AND THEN
GOLD JUMPED TO $1600.00 AN OUNCE
FARSIGHTED CANADIAN MINING COMPANIES MOVED IN
REOPENED THE MINES
GOLD CAME ROLLING OUT OF THE MINES
80 MILLION A YEAR  IN ROYALTIES PAID
HALF GOES TO THE STATE
HALF TO THE COUNTY 
40 MILLION A YEAR TO SPEND ON ITSELF 
HOW DO YOU THINK THEY SPENT THE MONEY?

Well, They built the 2nd largest fire department in the state,

 a terrific senior citizens center with well paid personnel serving near-gourmet meals daily.

They renovated an old k thru 6th school for 17 million,


Built a new high school for humpteen million to serve about a hundred and fifty students.
The graduating class this year was 14.
And every high school needs a new football stadium.  This one would serve the NFL. 

The VANDALS could hosts the Vikings.

And of course every small town needs a state of the art Swimming facility


AND A NEW GYM---cost: 14 million.  Has an indoor running track and  fully equipped fitness paraphernalia.  No small town should be without one. 


And hey, while were at it--lets build a fairgrounds worthy of our status.


Where we can practice our rodeo skills.

And special dumpsters for hoss manure.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:   Ah sweet people---we had quite a visit---talked to some knowledgeable and friendly people.  Here's what I think I learned:
1. Canadian companies edged out their American competition because they take the long view and are not so eager for short term profit.
2. Gold must sell for at least $1000.00 an ounce for the mines to continue operation.
3. County commissioners spent all this money because they were more or less compelled to.  County law requires that everything above a certain threshold of reserve funds be spent on improvements.  The obvious solution is to change the threshold of savings.
I found a citizen of influence and told him how the province of Alberta, Canada dealt with a similar problem: (a vast surge of oil wealth):  they created an HERITAGE FUND and poured billions and billions into it---saved for a "rainy day".  He said he would pass on the tip.
4. That the Chinese are players here also---investing billions in a nearby mine.
5. That water rights here are often more valuable than the land over it.
6.  That the 14 million for a new Gym (already had a serviceable one) finally outraged the citizenry and in the last election the whole board was voted out.








3 comments:

Chester Breder said...

Some fools never learn. How will they support the new building when the gold stops? Who got rich building all that stuff?

John W. Abert said...

I agree with Chester, and with the Province of Alberta. It doesn't take a lot of brains to figure out that if the mines leave again, this will become the most expensive ghost town in U. S. history! Unless there are significant ranches, there is no industry in a town of this size. A normal tax rate would not provide enough income to sustain buildings like this, and if taxes are raised, more people will move elsewhere. It is not only foolish, but downright stupid to keep spending money on improvements, without creating a way to sustain them long term! If the board couldn't see that, then they deserved to get voted out of office!

Anonymous said...

Likely the idea is these new facilities will attract new residents seeking better schools and lifestyle and thus the local economy will be stimulated to grow organically. Americans are not great savers like Norway we are too optimistic. If that optimism is borne out here remains to be seen.