Should We Take It?

July 29, 2009 at 1:00pm By: Mr. Wilson Posted in The Lincolnite Blog

Here’s the scenario: Your budget is tight tight tight. You could use a new car, but there’s no way it will fit into your budget. Somebody comes along and says, “I will cover the first 36 months of a 48 month car loan, but you have to pay the final 12 months”. You don’t know what your budget will look like after three years. You assume it will be better, but there’s just no way to know. Taking the deal may put you in financial distress three years from now. Not taking it seems foolish because, well, who turns down that kind of a gift? What do you do?

Now you’re the City of Lincoln. The Feds want to pay for four police officers for three years, as long as Lincoln covers year four. (We also have to fund them beyond year four if we want to keep them, but at that point it’s up to us.) Do we take the cash (and the cops)?

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The Comments

Gene July 29, 2009 at 2:05pm

That depends. Can you put money in a cash reserve over the first three years to pay for year four? I think it sounds reasonable.

Fletch July 29, 2009 at 2:07pm

In this case, I would say yes. In the case of a depreciating asset like a car, I would say no.

If we cannot cover the costs by year 5 and beyond, at least we would have 4 trained officers on hand that could replace any retiring or relocating officers. Surely there are people that leave that job on an annual basis.

Gene’s idea is good too - start putting a little money aside now to cover year 4.

Moses July 29, 2009 at 3:44pm

Do we need four more police officers? If the answer is yes, how can you not take this with annualized cost of 25%..

Gene July 29, 2009 at 5:49pm

Yeah, this seems like such a no-brainer.

Fletch July 29, 2009 at 5:52pm

Is there ever a time when we would say, “No, we don’t need any more officers. We’re good.”

Moses July 29, 2009 at 5:58pm

That was my point. I don’t think we are anywhere close to having too many police in this town. So, if we can get them at a 75% discount why not?

Dave K July 29, 2009 at 6:27pm

The ‘75% discount’ numbers are assuming that these officers are dismissed or other retiring officers are not replaced in 4 years.  We all know that’s not going to happen.  Eventually we’ll be paying for something we don’t need, and whether that’s now or in 4 years makes no difference.  So let’s say I look at this like I would my own expenses.  If I was getting something I don’t need for free but knew it was going to cost me a lot of money in 3 years, I would pass.

Moses July 29, 2009 at 6:41pm

Are you seriously saying we don’t need 4 more officers on the Lincoln police force?

Dave K July 29, 2009 at 7:41pm

I seriously am. Otherwise, why don’t we have them? If we can afford a 300 million dollar arena and dozens of thousands-per-piece electronic traffics signs that are almost never on, then I’m sure we could afford a few new cops. 

I give the police a free pass on almost everything.  If they need new officers, they should get them, but they shouldn’t be waiting for the federal government to come around and pay for them.  When they do that it looks like they don’t really need them. If they need them and we can’t fund them, then we need to realign our priorities as a city.

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