There was an interesting story on the Internet this week about a little set of steps.

There was an interesting story on the Internet this week about a little set of steps.
It seems that a small incline leading into a city park was much used, but a little dangerous. The city decided to built a small set of steps. Like too many bureaucracies, the city got plans and some genius to come up with the costs of the steps.
The estimated cost was between $65,000 and $120,000 to build about a half dozen steps.
Thinking the cost was outrageous, a retired man who lives near the park took it upon himself to build the steps. Using his own money, donations from neighbors and hiring a homeless man to help him, the steps were built for $550.
His efforts were praised by locals.
Granted the steps left a lot to be desired, and the city threatened to, and did, tear them out. But the point was made. The city came back and said they could get them built, complying with city codes, for about $10,000.
The issue is not over, as several carpenters have come forward to say they could do it for $2,000.
But the real issue is out-of-this-world costs cities, counties, state and federal agencies are having. The famous $600 hammers and these $65,000 set of five or six steps are good examples.
I have to ask, "Who's mind the store?" People are ripping off the taxpayers because no one is watching. Who's "cooking the books?" Are our elected and appointed officials so non-concerned that fraud, graft, and embezzlement can be carried out with relative ease?
Just because someone can win an election or get a plum appointment doesn't mean they will be good stewards. Our taxes and fees would be much less if only someone would keep an eye on the till and cut out all the wasteful spending.

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Yard mowing has slacked off with the hot dry weather. Many people hate to mow so they are happy. Of course, like everything, there is a negative. Most people don't like to hear their lawn crunch under their feet. And the heat keeps a lot of people inside.
Another negative is the electric bill.
I guess there is a little "win" and a little "loss," with this weather. Something in science says that for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.
Frankly, I'm ready for fall. I love the garden but it will be a pleasure to dig in the closet and drawers and pull out those sweaters and jackets. Until then, I'll just hid out under the chill of the air conditioner and pray for rain and cooler weather.


Kay Hively writes a weekly column for the Daily News.