Happy Saturday!  Turns out ELGL cofounders Kent & Kirsten Wyatt celebrated their 10th anniversary recently, and today’s buzz celebrates it by taking in some kiss cam GIFs.  There’s also $6 billion in infrastructure, bleaching of Kansas City BBQ, and trouble in Atlantic City & Lake County, Indiana.

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m Reading: FACT CHECK: Donald Trump’s First 100 Days Action Plan

What I’m Watching: The bad map we see every presidential election

What I’m Listening to: Coach Gregg Popovich Discussing Donald Trump’s Victory

What I’m Doing: Wrapping up my GFOA Budget Award Review for November

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What Effect Do Soda Taxes Have?: Four American cities—Boulder, Colorado; and Albany, Oakland, and San Francisco, California—just finished voting on controversial soda-tax ballot measures meant to raise prices, curb consumption, and, hopefully, flatten out the ever-increasing obesity epidemic. There’s early evidence that similar taxes in other cities and countries are working, but exactly how much effect they have can be hard to measure. Now, a new study of Berkeley’s soda tax suggests that, when it comes to the first part of the equation—raising prices—the effect might not be as strong as you’d think.

How to pay for a $6B transit plan? Nashville chamber floats 7 ideas:It’s perhaps the most crucial, yet elusive, question that could determine whether Middle Tennessee will build a new regional transit system any time soon. How will the region, led by Nashville, pay for a plan that would cost nearly $6 billion to construct? The Nashville Area Chamber of Commerce, which earlier this year came out in support of a robust regional transit plan, has been exploring possibilities. And on Wednesday, the chamber’s Moving Forward transit initiative floated seven transit funding possibilities, calling for further studying on each of them.

Mini Metro is a zen subway-building game that’s a perfect fit for your phone: This past weekend, while riding the train from Toronto’s Union Station to my suburban house, I found myself transfixed by a map. I look at transit maps all the time, but it’s always just a fleeting glance; I see where I am and where I need to go, then I’m done. But this time was different. I was struck by how clean and orderly the map looked, and analyzed it for tips on how I could make mine the same. Clearly I’ve been playing too much Mini Metro on my iPad. Mini Metro is a game about making subway maps. You start with just a few stations, which connect with a bright and colorful track, and then more pop up over time. The goal is to keep things running smoothly even as the transit system balloons to dozens of stops and multiple lines

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50 Nifty

  • City rec department explores alternative leadership:  The City of Plattsburgh Recreation Department is exploring the idea of restructuring their department, a process that would place more of a regional emphasis on sustaining infrastructure. The department has a section that maintains parks, and another that manages recreational facilities that are funded by the city.  Parks and Recs Superintendent Steve Peters said splitting the recreational portion out would eventually allow the city to share the costs with the surrounding area and provide greater public input into future development.
  • Mid-Missouri Fire Department Merger Improves Response Time: A little more than a month after the Camdenton City Fire Department and the Mid County Fire Protection District merged into one, the department has seen faster response times and improved functioning, according to Fire Chief Scott Frandsen. The decision to merge the two fire departments was made by the Camdenton Board of Alderman to avoid duplicate services, which would save taxpayers money, and improve the functioning of the emergency service. Frandsen says the results of merging are positive.
  • Online financial portal works to improve transparency for Orange County residents: The Orange County Board of Commissioners is working to make the life of residents a little easier. On Nov. 1 the board approved an online tool that will allow citizens to view the county’s financial data. The portal will be called “Residents Transparency.” The portal can be accessed by going to the Orange County website. It will allow residents to view detailed financial information about Orange County government and its departments.
  • Commission changes cast uncertainty over future of Honolulu’s police department: A chief under federal investigation. Concerns over police discipline. Some outspoken critics of the Honolulu Police Department. Now, after Tuesday’s election, the board that watches over things has new power to take action. So what will it all mean moving forward? The overwhelming vote, combined with a changing of the guard at the commission, are together a big shift for the board that oversees HPD. What will they do with it, and how will the chief respond? We got answers.

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  • Health department defends bleaching of American Royal barbecue, future feedings in jeopardy: For decades groups have worked to collect leftover food at American Royal’s World Series of Barbecue and give it to needy families. But it now appears that could have to come to an end.The Kansas City Health Department ordered 700 pounds of barbecue it found from the event at a community food kitchen Wednesday to be tossed in dumpsters and covered in bleach. That figure now stands at more than 4,000 pounds as all food collected from the annual event has been destroyed. The Kansas City Health Department says it had no idea these collections and donations were going on at the Royal every year until a chance inspection this week at Hope City.
  • Longport votes to leave county library system: What were described as “rough” tallies shortly after the polls closed Tuesday show Longport residents agreeing to leave the Atlantic County Library System.According to Borough Clerk Amy Strawder, the machine vote count on Question 3 was 240-149 in favor of Longport establishing its own library. Strawder said there were 14 provisional ballots and a number of mail-in ballots that were not included in the totals. The vote count is unofficial, but the outcome is unlikely to change.
  • Justice department taking look at Norfolk’s handling of zoning issue: City of Norfolk officials have been informed that the U.S. Department of Justice has opened an investigation into an ongoing zoning issue in Norfolk. In an Oct. 24 letter sent to Norfolk Mayor Sue Fuchtman, the federal agency indicated it had initiated an investigation of the city’s zoning and land use practices in relation to the federal Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act (RLUIPA). The preliminary investigation pertains to the future of the former Eagle Distributing building that is now owned by Our Savior Lutheran Church in Norfolk, which seeks to remodel the building into a new worship facility.

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Local Gov Confidential

New Jersey Assumes Control of Atlantic City’s Government: In a blow to Atlantic City elected officials, New Jersey’s Local Finance Board voted 5-0 Wednesday to grant its director, Timothy Cunningham, far-reaching governing powers over the beleaguered city. The vote, a by-product of the state’s Municipal Stabilization and Recovery Act, was the worst-case scenario for the city, which has been fighting a takeover for the last year, even as it barely escaped going broke.  The city’s mayor, Don Guardian, called the decision “devastating.”

Warrants served at Lake County government offices: FBI officials Thursday morning visited a string of Lake County offices. FBI and Indiana State Police officers first visited the Lake County Sheriff’s department before moving over to the main county complex. Ryan Holmes, of the U.S. Department of Justice, confirmed that a federal search warrant was served in the vicinity of the Lake County Government Center. Holmes could not discuss the case any further. “The Lake County Sheriff’s Department is cooperating with our federal law enforcement partners, fully assisting the FBI with their inquiry,” the department said in a statement. “Regular Sheriff’s Department operations are continuing. We assure the citizens of Lake County that their safety remains our top priority.”

Government in Indiana pays up after ransomware stifles operations: Of all the various forms of malware from which a person or organization can suffer, ransomware is likely the worst. It doesn’t just hijack a machine to engage in denial of service attacks, or even simply damage data and cause machines to become erratic and unreliable. No, ransomware is a particularly brazen form of malware. Ransomware doesn’t just dole out random damage to whomever a hacker can reach with a virus or other nefarious code. It’s also not merely taking over a machine in the background and using it as a bot in denial of service attacks — those rely on keeping the infection invisible so that they can run without the user knowing it and doing something in response. As the county government in Madison County, Indiana, discovered last week, ransomware is a very in-your-face attack with very real and, quite often, unavoidable consequences, as Ars Technica reports.

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