Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Tax Time

Yes, folks, it's the time of year when rich and poor, estated and apartmented, Bentleyed and Forded, all gather at Town Hall for the joyous ritual of forking over their tax payments to the ever-amiable Lou Caravella. Usually your scribe waits until the last minute - which is August 1 - to line up with all the other dilatory payors. (The worst lines are on July 31, which those who don't read the fine print think is the deadline; the queue can snake out the front door, and the wait time is such that many people bring a book and a camp stool.)

This year, however, in a fit of public-spirited generosity, your faithful reporter went in 29 days early, figuring the Town could perhaps earn a penny or two of interest on his pittance. Imagine his surprise when he actually had to wait a moment or two, while the woman in front of him wrote out a substantial five-figure check for her bill, and then learned to her surprise that she could have written a check for half the amount if she'd chosen to pay in equal semi-annual installments. But it didn't seem to faze her; perhaps the notion of coming back in January to pay the second half conflicted with her busy winter travel schedule.

Then your scribe sidled up to the window with his much more modest bill, for which he tendered cash. The equal-opportunity clerk treated him with the same politeness and deference as she had shown the rich lady - not a jot more, nor a tittle less. All in all, paying taxes in Greenwich is a not-unpleasant experience, as long as you avoid the last-minute crush.

What, you may ask, do one's taxes provide in return? Ah, dear reader, if you have been paying attention over the past year, you will know we have the finest cadre of municipal employees money can buy (oops...did that come out right?), a police force second to all, and an educational system that spends money like a drunken sailor on facilities that were obsolete before they were completed (Glenville School - the windowless wonder - and the ineffable high school auditorium spring to mind), and then spends tens of millions more to replace them with project after project that comes in way over budget and way behind deadline. Does the bloated educational bureaucracy in this Town ever learn from its past mistakes? Hah! They consider themselves all-wise and all-knowing; theirs is to tell us how wonderful they are, not to learn. After all, at their exalted position atop the pinnacle of the educational pyramid, they are long past the learning stage.

Alas and alack, dear reader; and thus it is ours to pay...and pay...and pay. Boondoggle after boondoggle is perpetrated on our poor Town - well, not poor exactly, but you know what I mean. Even as school enrollment declines, the educational bureaucracy continues to bloat, not to mention the body count at Town Hall, where it seems that many of the "worker" bees are busy mostly with calculating how much time they have left until they can collect their pensions. It is more than possible that the Town of Greenwich has replaced the Federal Government as the employer of last resort.

Except, of course, for the nice ladies in the Tax Collector's office, who are always ready to take your money quickly and efficiently and with a smile. "There now, that didn't hurt a bit," they seem to say; "see you next year." So pleasant are they that one almost looks forward to it...with a slight stress on the "almost". After all, given the choice of life's two great inevitabilities, taxes are generally to be preferred.

1 Comments:

Blogger ERiCA said...

we have the finest cadre of municipal employees money can buy, a police force second to all, and an educational system that spends money like a drunken sailor on facilities that were obsolete before they were completed

hehehehehe =)

It's so nice to live in a place where I don't have to pay taxes... we rely on the tourists for that. Mua ha haa! Mua ha haa! Mua haaaaa *choke*

(Okay, there IS property tax, which is crazy expensive, but no city/state tax)

July 09, 2007 6:09 PM  

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