The mayor has called an extraordinary meeting of Babel City Council. This is the first time since 1939 when the Babel council declared war on Germany and its allies that an extraordinary council meeting had been called.
“But what is it all about?” the city clerk kept insisting. “If you are going to try to declare war on someone, I can tell you now that it won’t work. It didn’t have any authority in 1939 and it won’t have any authority today.”
“Don’t you worry your little head about it, missy,” the mayor told her. “Everyone is going to find out in due time that they have the most brilliant mayor in Canada. I am going to single-handed solve all our financial problems. Instead of paying taxes, the good citizens of Babel are going to earn a dividend every year from their city.”
The city clerk finally gave up and went off to add more details to her planned sexual harassment suit against the mayor. To her surprise, all ten councillors said they would attend the mayor’s extraordinary meeting. “We have waited a long time, wondering if he would ever do anything,” one of the wise men explained.
The meeting got underway with every councillor’s seat filled, an overflow of media and standing room only for public who had been advised of the strange goings on. The mayor, resplendent in his chain of office, banged his gavel, and called his extraordinary meeting to order.
“I want to tell you how I have solved all the financial problems for our city. It is brilliant,” he told them. “Starting January one, next year, this will no longer be Babel—I never liked that name anyway. We are going to have an auction in December and all the businesses in Babel will have an opportunity to bid for the naming rights. If Walmart, for example, wins the bidding, this will be Walmart, Ontario for the next year. We will get old theatre marquees for the main roads coming in to town and we will use old theatre lettering to identify us as Walmart for the next year. The next year, maybe Rona will outbid Walmart and we will be Rona, Ontario.”
There were some scatted “Bu-bu-bu-buts…” around the council chambers but the mayor continued:
“And to further show my brilliance, we are not going to stop there. I want our gem of a bay renamed. Just think, we could make money when it is called ‘Peoples’ Credit Bay’ for the coming year.
“And the brilliance doesn’t stop there,” he explained. “Instead of paying taxes, every land owner will have the opportunity to name his street, or at least the block where the property is located. Each year homeowners will have a chance to have their name on their street. We can also name the Five Points for a local business. City hall is such a blah name for such a nice building, it can also go up for bids. What developer would not want city hall named for his company? And, while we are at it, we could include city-owned yacht clubs, community centres, hockey arenas, fire halls, the police station, golf clubs, the possibilities seem endless.”
By now the chorus of “Bu-bu-bu-buts,” were getting louder. “But how would anybody ever find their way around the city?” one of the wise men finally asked.
“Ahhh, that’s the beauty of my scheme,” the mayor explained. “Babel needs new industry and my scheme will create many industries, not the least of which is a new map company to bring out annual maps for citizens and tourists alike. It will also cause a boom in global positioning systems (GPS) sales as we will have to switch the post office over to GPS addresses.
“I have had the accountants work on this and I can tell you that in the first year alone, we will reduce realty taxes by approximately a third. The spin-off into local industry will improve Babel’s gross city economy by as much as 9.07 per cent the first year. Now, tell me, is your mayor brilliant or not?” he added.
One of the wise men rose up and glared at the mayor. “Well, I think it’s the dumbest, most hair-brained idea, I have ever heard,” he said.
“Oh,” the mayor responded, “You obviously have a much better idea. Why don’t you tell us about it?”
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