Congratulations, you’ve survived another holiday season!  Today’s Buzz has privatization of public works, police beards in Detroit and zamboni crashes as you ease into your 2016 Boxing Day agenda.

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Right Now w/ Matt Yager

What I’m reading: Tied in Knots by Vivian Gornick

What I’m watching: The Emoji Movie Trailer

What I’m listening to: My Better Self by Tennis

What I’m doing: Cleaning my home after the holiday whirlwind.

What I want to know from you: How are you doing the day after Christmas?

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In American Towns, Private Profits From Public Works: Desperate towns have turned to private equity firms to manage their waterworks. The deals bring much-needed upgrades, but can carry hefty price tags.

A Library From the Future Arrives In Denmark: In Aarhus, Dokk1 merges old and new concepts of how a public place for learning should function.

Austin Still Needs Permission From Texas to Lower its Speed Limits: A decision by the city of Austin to support lower speed limits on some city streets will remain a symbolic gesture until the state allows local governments to establish their own speed limits.

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50 Nifty

  • No more ban on beards for razor-phobic Detroit cops: The Detroit Police Department has shed its old policy on facial hair, ushering in a new choice for officers: beards. Police Chief James Craig said he didn’t want to “keep something in place that really had … no bearing on how good they would do their job.”

  • Kelso may expand ‘adult-oriented’ zoning district for marijuana store: Jason Wamsley thought he found the perfect location for his new Kelso marijuana store, tucked into the Talley Way industrial area away from residential or public places. He’s leasing the 2200 Talley Way building from Scott Hensrude, who bought the building for $450,000 on Nov. 10. But shortly after the purchase, Hensrude and Wamsley discovered the building was just outside the zoning district that allows marijuana businesses. Now the Snohomish County businessmen are appealing to Kelso council members to extend the “adult-oriented business” zoning district — which ends just two parcels over.
  • Opponents sue to block Balboa Park project: Opponents of the Balboa Park Plaza de Panama plan filed a lawsuit this week to block the $79 million project based on contentions the city didn’t analyze potential environmental effects thoroughly enough when the project was revived this year.
  • Temporary hiring freeze allows new county procedures to be drafted: Mayor Harry Kim has instituted a hiring freeze while county departments revamp their procedures for selecting job candidates. Kim said he implemented the freeze shortly after taking office, but it’s not a hard freeze. “I told them until each department’s process of hiring is approved by this office, you will not proceed with hiring any employees,” Kim said late Wednesday. “It’s a freeze, yes, but not really a freeze. It’s a halt until procedures are in place.”

  • Zamboni crash closes City Hall rink: Boston Winter’s ice rink is closed after a Zamboni smashed through the boards and onto the plaza, but no one was seriously hurt, a rink spokeswoman said.
  • How state and local government budgets will be affected by CalPERS’ trimmed investment expectations: In the four years since California’s largest pension fund recalibrated its investment projections, the annual contribution from state and local governments — in effect, the money paid by taxpayers — has slowly been on the rise. By the summer of next year, the pace of those payments will quicken, as the California Public Employees’ Retirement System throttles back the expectations of profits earned on its $300-billion portfolio.

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#LocalGov Confidential

Erie County deputy budget director leaves to take Town of Tonawanda post: Erie County’s deputy budget director, Timothy Callan, will leave his influential government position and take a considerable pay cut to become a community development coordinator with the Town of Tonawanda. His impending departure, after 13 years of rising through the ranks in county government, comes as a surprise to many given his role as a hands-on troubleshooter and outspoken defender of County Executive Mark Poloncarz’s fiscal policies.

Public Works crew leader takes town honor: Brian Bray looks and sounds like the kind of person who would be comfortable in a corner office somewhere. Then again, he looks and sounds like he belongs in the work pants and boots he wears to job sites every day as a crew leader for the Town of Wendell’s Public Works Department. Bray’s job actually requires skills for both kinds of jobs and his ability to pull them off has won him the nod as Wendell’s Employee of the Year.

Colleyville city manager resigns, effective April 2: The Colleyville City Council unanimously accepted City Manager Jennifer Fadden’s resignation following an executive session discussion on Dec. 20. Fadden has worked for the city since March 2009, all as city manager. “I am thankful for the opportunities that Colleyville has provided me both professionally and personally,” Fadden said in a news release. “It has been a pleasure to work for the citizens of Colleyville for the last eight years. Together with leadership from the city council and a talented staff, we have been able to accomplish important tasks that continue to position the city as a premier DFW suburb.”

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