Last night, my wife and I attended our first Village Association meeting.
What the hell is that? Well, think, town hall meeting, but a lot less formal.
We live in a section of town that was once its own entity, but has since been absorbed into the neighboring city. The Village Association is its attempt to distinguish itself from the greater community and I’m all for it.
The meetings apparently occur once each month and are hosted by the “ceremonial” mayor of our town. Nice enough guy, I guess (he made a point to shake our hands on the way in and the way out), but he rubs me the wrong way for some reason — he plays the part of an arrogant New Yorker — which is really out of place here.
Anyhow, besides one other couple, that was apparently new to the club as well, it looked more like a senior citizen’s meeting than anything else. I briefly got the feeling that some in the room were happy to see some young faces in the crowd.
The topics covered were interesting, if you live in this small section of town, and the meeting moved along at a pretty decent clip.
We even got pieces of cake! Really, it was like going to a grandparent’s birthday party at the nursing home or something. But who doesn’t like cake?
What struck me was how some of the older people think. One of the more heated discussions was regarding the costs of re-renovating a recently completed park project — and the line was quickly drawn. It was obviously young vs. old.
The debate focused on the engraved bricks you often see in municipal areas these days. You know, you pay $80 to the town and they engrave your name on a brick that will be used in the construction of a new municipal building.
Last year, the Village Association “built” a park that included this kind of brick in a mosaic fashion around a clock tower, with some benches and that sort of thing. Very “Back to the Future”… Okay, not really, but that would be cool…
For the younger set, it was about saving money. For the older set, it was about bringing in more money.
You see, the younger group (by younger, I mean under 50) was opposed to the idea of tearing up the completed park to install more “engraved” bricks. The project is done, the mosaic looks great, the surface is flat, the moss growing between the bricks is uniform. You know, it looks like a job well done. Let’s leave it at that.
The older group seems only interested in selling more bricks. Tear the damn think apart, one brick at a time, as more people request to have a brick engraved.
What they couldn’t seem to get a handle on is that it’s not worth the costs involved. One sold brick doesn’t cover the costs involved to install a new one. All they saw were dollar signs (completely ignoring the costs that would come later).
To me, the whole debate went the opposite way I thought it would have. I wouldn’t have thought the younger set would have been the group that was interested in turning away cash upfront in the name of pinching pennies in the grand scheme. It was the older set that seemed, well, greedy… without even considering the ramifications.
I guess it’s a good sign that the younger folks are more cautious when it comes to finances, but the “topic” will be up for discussion again next month… and I’m pretty sure it will be another 20 years before I join the majority…