The mayor was at the paper today for a routine sit-down with The Telegraph's editorial board. I'm sad to say it might be his last one as mayor. Say what you will about Jack Ellis' tenure, but he is always charming and always interesting.
Anyway, Matt Barnwell, who is another reporter here, will have some coverage in tomorrow's paper. But a few of the things that struck me:
1. They're unaudited figures, but Ellis said the city should have about $6 million in its reserve fund when it's all said and done later this year. He hopes to have that up in the $9 million area next year. If he, along with the controls put in by the City Council, which are intrinsic to the process, can rebuild the reserves to close to $10 million after nearly hitting rock bottom, I wonder if people will reassess the Ellis' administration's fiscal responsibility? Probably not.
2. He mentioned that, compared to last year, the tax digest for cars is way down. In fact the value of cars tagged in the city this year dropped about $21 million. That probably means people are driving their cars longer without getting a new one — either that or there was a miscalculation or a bunch of people with nice cars moved. Luckily real estate prices shot up more than enough to offset this change, or the city would have taken a hit on tax collections. It'd be interesting to see whether people are holding onto their cars longer, and whether that has a positive or negative environmental impact.
3. The mayor still wants to float some bonds before he leaves office to pay for recreation facilities. The council has been unwilling to even discuss this formally. But Ellis said that, with last week's election out of the way, he thinks he can get the support he needs. We'll see. They shot him down most recently on Monday July 16 - the day before the election.
4. The mayor said he'll spend his birthday, Jan. 6, in east Africa. At that point he'll have been out of office a few weeks, because the new administration takes over in December. Then Ellis heads to Vietnam for the 40 year anniversary of the Tet Offensive. As you may know, Ellis fought in the Vietnam War. He said he's invited Jane Fonda to join him on the trip. I am not making that up.