Increase Trash Fee But Offer Less?

06.18.2008 | 9:51 pm | General Life, Local Government, North Reading

So the Selectman decide to increase the trash fee by $46 per year or a little over 25%.  Yet they will limit the number of trash bags that a household can put out.  Why is it with the government policies that we pay more yet we get less?  Personally it is not a lot of money but it that really the point.  For some, it may matter but on principle I would love occasionally to hear - We found an opportunity for efficiency so we will be decreasing your fees. Do we every hear that at all?  And to be fair, this is not a North Reading specific issue but a government issue and mentality.  Always ask for more but never over delivery until there is tremendous pressure to do so.

It would be great if our local governments was like technology.  Dropping prices but better performance.  Not a perfect analogy but one can dream!

Good News on the Budget Front

03.26.2008 | 7:38 am | Local Government, Schools

Looks there is a bit of good news on the budget front. The actual increase for health insurance for the town was only 2.5% compared to the 15% that was budgeted. Most of the money will be allocated to the school so the override of 2 1/2 only needs to be $800k.

BTW only one selectman voted against giving the additional allocated money to the schools -Phil Dardeno, who is up for re-election this year by the way.

The vote for the override will on be on April 7th 7 PM so get out and vote - a 2/3 must vote yes for the override. And if you need babysitting service, NRUE will have be sponsoring a babysitting service for you! Just drop by the High School from 6:40pm on.

Mortgage Rate Tips

03.22.2008 | 10:33 am | Mortgage Rates

I was reading the follow article from Fox Business News and it had a few tips / advice regarding refinancing or negotiating a mortgage rate:

Šif you're looking to refinance your mortgage and have the ability to wait, you may be better off sitting tight for a couple more months. He expects the housing market to improve in the second half of the year and once credit markets return to a state of normalcy, lending conditions should improve. More information Safetytechnology.org/home-protection/pool-alarms/.

For people with home equity lines of credit, they should see a benefit from the Fed rate cut, noted Weiss Larson. Since home equity lines of credit are tied directly to the prime rate, which is the interest rate banks charge their most credit-worthy customer, Weiss said those lines of credit almost always fall in lockstep with the federal fund rate. Larson did note it takes a month or two for the rate you're paying on your home equity line of credit to catch up.

I locked my loan at 4.5% in January, the day after the Fed cut, said Epstein. The banks are still figuring it out and are more willing to bargain. Epstein said that if you don't get a 1% decline in your mortgage rate, it's not worth refinancing because of the closing costs associated with a mortgage refinancing. And if your credit score is less than 688 at the most, the harder it is to get that loan, she said.

And according to Reuters the good news is slowly spreading down to the mortgage rates:

U.S. 30-year mortgage rates fell to an average of 5.87 percent from 6.13 percent a week earlier, while 15-year mortgages averaged 5.27 percent compared to 5.60 percent last week.

I am hanging in until I can refinance my mortgage again.

Fed Drops Rates Once More

03.18.2008 | 2:38 pm | Mortgage Rates

So the Fed has dropped the Fed Funds rate by 3/4 of a percent to try to stablize the credit markets.  The wierd thing about this it appears to help the banks more than us consumers.  As the banks are trying to make more money on the spread between mortgage rates and the rate they need to borrow at.

What ever happened to those days that when the Fed drops the rate the mortgage rates would follow?  Not in today's market.  But it does help stem the tide of even higher rates.  I stink at predictions but why do I get the feeling that rates will continue to drop.

Is this the Future?

03.15.2008 | 3:34 pm | Local Government

There is an interesting article from Boston.com written a few days ago but its failing school system:

A community once celebrated as having some of the best schools in the state now has schools rated among the worst. Amid an escalating financial crisis in recent years, 68 teachers have been laid off, two elementary schools have closed, and about half the classes at the high school have been cut. There are no more elementary school librarians. Most of the school buses are gone, as are freshmen and junior varsity sports.

While I don't think this is the future for North Reading, it is a pretty dramatic potential future for those towns that do NOT invest in their public school systems.

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