Part 8: Fit The Seventh: Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)
Fit The Seventh: Opportunities (Let's Make Lots Of Money)
After the euphoria, or more like it, relief at seeing the City Hall constructed, it was quickly back to work. Of course I finally had a proper office and, indeed, so did my advisors.
I was pretty much completely sick of Gus Oddman bugging me about the power plant and its bipolar disorder. "It's gonna blow! It's not going to explode. It's gonna blow! It's not going to explode".
The fluctuating power demand (and thus strain on the plant) was due to the fluctuating population, which was really bugging me. Why the hell were people doing that? It's not like there were even any roads in or out of the city, so they must've been catching one of the garbage steamers to migrate in and out like they were on a day trip.
Anyway, I had to scratch up some money to buy a second power plant. It would have to be coal; oil was an extravagance at this stage.
Sure, I could wait a couple of years, because we were making a decent profit for a town our size (to the detriment of certain services) and could probably make up what we needed, but that would mean I could spend absolutely nothing until then. Instead, I thought that I could instead use that profit to service a small loan. I asked Mortimer about the details.
That is absolutely fascinating.
Are you taking the piss again?
I worked out a few sums on my slide rule and figured that a §5000 loan would only cost an extra grand in interest over the decade. Less that 2% compound interest. Bargain.
Once the loan was approved, I quickly constructed the extra power station. It was possibly too close to the other one, but I figured it was best to concentrate the pollution. I knew Moe would love the smell, at least.
Of course, I did have just enough spare cash to start building up the downtown area around the hall. I set up a potential commercial strip alongside it, as well as another row of flats nearby, where the City workers might decide to live. Also, I had yet another park planted out the back of the hall, in the hope that it would raise land values enough so it wouldn't just become yet another slum district.
Finally a couple of road extensions. One to the east of the new Downtown to connect with High Street...
... and an extension of Bunkley Terrace. I admit to being completely selfish about this, since it'd make my new commute that much quicker, but it wasn't as if I would be the only commuter to benefit from it. As well, I had a bit of a tree planting project, again to help raise the land values.
And, as Mortimer informed me, all that just about drained the rest of the cash from our coffers. Since I didn't have any more huge expenditures in mind for a while, I would refrain from taking out any more loans, even if it meant some slowing down of growth. I hoped something else would come along.
Gus was never bloody happy. I give him a nice new power station and he grumbles about that. Well, if push came to shove I might think about his suggestion to hook up one of our neighbours, though, if the garbage negotiations were any indication, that could backfire on us when we needed more electricity for ourselves.
Of course I could understand Karen's concerns, but the smog was going to be a fact of life until cleaner sources of power came along.
I don't really know what Connie was banging on about here, since all the zones were developing well as far as I could see, but I took her advice with good grace.
And so that ended a rather busy day at City Hall. It wasn't just the advisors, Ms Earrings turned up again bitching about the traffic and still going on about her mythical bus stops, and Sophia was again bothering me about the schools or lack thereof, not to mention other matters on her mind, which I did my best not to entertain.
I was quite glad to be able to drive away from work, though, and my house finally felt like a home rather than a doormat for every complaining dumbshit in town to track mud over my carpets.
By this stage the end of year report had come around, so I gave it a quick perusal.
Nothing surprising about the figures, though the loan repayments had cut our yearly profits, at least we were enjoying decent revenue.
I also checked out an environmental survey of the industrial area, and it stunk. We'd be getting two-headed dogs before too long. But again, I felt it was acceptable for now.
Before I could even used to the idea of writing 1908 in dates, I received a tantalising proposition, presented to me by one Orville, director of the Bureau of Oversight. He seemed a bit familiar to me, at least his voice seemed to ring some kind of bell from the past.
Good morning, Mr Bunkley. I've heard some rather interesting things about you, so I'm quite pleased to finally meet you in person at last.
Hmmm. I think I've met you before. I can't place you, though.
Who knows? Perhaps we have met in another life, but as this is not a social call, I'd like to cut to the chase. I have a proposition that I think you'll be very interested in, though I will understand if you decide take your time in considering it.
You're offering the city a prison? Wow, that kind of sucks.
That's right, all the state's meanest, nastiest murderers, rapists, child molesters and drug dealers could be right here on your doorstep!
There's gotta be a catch.
How does a cool §3,000 a year sound?
Wow. Urrrhhh, Constance! I think you want to look at this, I want to hear what you think before I do go ahead and do something stupid.
It's not the sort of thing I'd want in my city, but we do need the cash. Your call.
Alright, we'll take it. I'm not sure where the damned thing's going to go, though.
Very good. I'll sure you'll find somewhere to locate it in due course.
Yeah, I guess. I'm going to have to think hard about this. Hey Connie, how does the "Penis Peninsula Penitentiary" sound?