Local governments everywhere continue to look for signs of a recovering economy.  When tenants disappear, landlords can’t pay the property taxes that, in turn, pay for a variety of public services.  When retail sales fall, so does a government’s share of sales tax.  Budget season gets media coverage in May and June, but it starts

Happy New Year.

             I’m sure that’s the first time I’ve written that phrase without the usual and somewhat cliched exclamation point.  New Year’s Eve celebrations have a sense of insincerity about them anyway.  Mildly fake revelry.  A feeling that we’re required to stay awake two hours past normal bedtime although we’re really not sure why.


The lead article in yesterday’s Charlotte Observer was interesting news.  The headline read “Charlotte homes sales rebound.”

Today’s High Point Enterprise had a similar lead article: “High Point home sales show large increase for October.”

Home sales were up 20% in Charlotte and 22% in High Point.  But the story behind the story is that