× DAY OF THE DEAD — Grade 4 students at Midtown Community School celebrated Day of the Dead by making their own masks. The children enjoyed learning about this bright and colorful Mexican holiday.
Thirty-seven years ago, when I represented the city of Schenectady in all of its labor matters, I was shocked to discover that no one had ever “costed out” the price of labor. The range ran from about 27 percent over base salary for blue collar workers to about 87 percent for police and fire, with benefits, including health insurance, sick leave, workers’ compensation, retirement pay and other state or federal mandated expenses. So when the City Council and the mayor consider the city budget, they must consider whether overtime actually decreases that percentage, as opposed to new hires, along with the other services the municipality must provide.It takes about two years for a new police officer to be fully capable on the street — six months of school, then ride-alongs and on-the-job training. That, of course, doesn’t speak to deployment: the need for detectives and the overtime generated when there’s a particularly heinous crime or the urgent need for boots on the street during special events and protests.We all want the protective services, police, fire, paramedics, correctional officers and others. Are people willing to pay for full staffing? (The chief says 14; my estimate is 20 or 25 more officers.) Would everyone pay an extra $100 per year in taxes if it meant prompter response times? And how does that impact any tax cap or other services that municipalities must provide? And what about the added expense of more police cars or fire equipment?Bruce S. TrachtenbergNiskayunaMore from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?Niskayuna girls’ cross country wins over Bethlehem Categories: Letters to the Editor, OpinionOnce again, The Gazette headlines police overtime, sensationalizing the incomes of a few, without delving into the cost-benefit analysis and germane factors, and only touching lightly upon under staffing. read more
How this planned investment exercise proceeded depended entirely on the investment opportunities that arose, he said.He said it was impossible to say exactly how much new investment money ATP would put into real estate, adding: “It very much depends on price, quality and location. We are primarily interested in high-quality real estate with strong tenants on long leases.”ATP’s search is mainly geared towards direct investments in Denmark and Northern Europe, according to Gade Jepsen.ATP reportedly sold a DKK90bn portfolio of index-linked bonds back in 2012.“We will buy index-linked bonds again when we find them attractive on an absolute basis and relative to other inflation investments,” Gade Jepsen said.Across asset classes, investors are now facing a period of low prospective returns, he said. “But there are real estate investment opportunities that are quite attractive, especially compared with index-linked bonds,” he said. ATP expects its real estate investments to yield quite attractive real returns but without adding too much risk to the investment portfolio.“Investments like our recent €400m Galaxy transaction in Brussels matches ATP’s wish for long and stable cash flows from well-located properties with low risk,” Gade Jepsen said.Earlier this month, a partnership in which ATP has a 90% share paid €475m for the North Galaxy office property in Brussels, which is let on a long-term lease to the Belgian Ministry of Finance.“As a pension company, we like these inflation-adjusted cash-flows from prime real estate because they maintain the purchasing power of the pension savings,” he said.ATP has increased its allocation to real estate to 5.1% of total assets from 4% at the end of 2012, with the pace of this expansion rising in recent months.Between the end of 2012 and the end of 2013, the pension fund’s real estate assets rose in absolute terms to DKK27bn from DKK23bn, and as a proportion of total assets to 4.3% from 4%.From January to May 2014, however, the relative allocation has grown by 0.8 percentage points. Danish pensions giant ATP is on the hunt for new high-quality real estate investments in Denmark and Northern Europe and aims to increase its current property allocation of DKK30bn (€4bn). The DKK600bn statutory pension fund is steering clear of new investments in index-linked bonds for the time being due to market pricing and sees real estate as good investment class for maintaining the buying power of its pension savings. Henrik Gade Jepsen, ATP’s CIO, told IPE: “We are interested in high-quality real estate, but we have not allocated a certain amount to real estate investments.”He said this investment expansion would increase ATP’s current allocation to property of approximately DKK30bn, but added that there was no specific target. read more