‘Twas the night after Christmas and
      all through the chamber

Not a creature was stirring, not even a reindeer,

No mythical Jewish or Hindu beasts, either

Just a grumpy observer who was taking
      a breather,

Shaking his head o’er the year near concluded,

“Did it all really happen, or were we deluded?”

Snafus entangled the primary election,

Where some were defeated and felt
      the rejection.

A new Council and Clerk were sworn in
      last May,

Guided by elves on the fourth floor day by day.

“Harley Clarke is still with us,”
      mutters  Grump, mouth downturn-ed

Unsolved since 2008, House of Usher,
      crumbling undeterr-ed

“But wait,” shouts a Potteresque face on the wall

“Lakehouse/Gardens will take it and soon
      host a ball

“With twirling gowns, tuxes, bringing in dollars

“For educational programs for the City’s
      young scholars.

“Two dozen come yearly two weeks at a time

“Under copper-roofed fog house to learn

“But mostly to run in the dunes playing
      capture the flag,”

Mumbled Grumpy as his jowls continued
      to impossibly sag.

“Priorities at work!” cried the portrait succinctly.

“Don’t stare at a budget crisis paralyzed
      and meekly!”

And the Grump then reflected on other
      similar decisions

Over the year that was 2017 so full of derisions.

That time when the Grand Elf returned
      from Tacoma

With predictions of poverty and shortage –
      more drama.

The budget, ’tis short, was announced to the masses

We have not enough to cover expenses,
      no funds for molasses

Or anything else for that matter. The scissors are out

We must cut, cut, cut, cut, It is what we’re about.

Union employees got a November day off

Without pay. A coal lump?
      So the Grump starts to scoff.

For on that rest day, oh, what did occur?

A snowfall: back to work now, and this day did blur

The budget again. Mother Nature, a shrew

To reveal the furlough a boon to so few.

Council also watched closely and counted
      out money

For a Gibbs-Morrison patio when weather is sunny.

The place, barely used, has cost
      quite a lot.

But, wait, what if, what if Council
      had not

Put in the patio, but delayed for a year?

The money saved then would cover
      the furlough.

Delay would not affect programming,

“What programming there?”
      then asked the old Grump

Only silence came from that
      prescient stump.

“And the beach office structure
      at Dempster and the Lake …”

“What building?” the portrait shrugged
      its shoulders as if to take

A moment to place it. Your comment

“The one lifeguards, token-buyers,
      but no one else uses.”

But it needed and received near
      $300,000 for that reason,

While, again, our employees lost pay
      in the holiday season.

“Next year will be better!” chirped
      the portrait unexpectedly.

“Newly electeds need months
      to behave more electedly,

Learn how things work, get their feet
      underneath them.

And see what the state, fed, and past
      Council did bequeath them.

But the Grump shook his head,
      and turned toward his bead

With visions of CFOs dancing in
      his head.

“So you say, inanimate ghost of a
      not long ago past,

But you had Marty Lyons to guide,
      and alas,

Our rock, out advisor, he alights
      to Aurora

Next year the trouble, the mess,
       the controversy before ya

Will land without Marty to explain
      and magically convert

To a solution, a proposal, a revenue
      source at least tolerably inert.”

 The portrait hung its head then,
      its holding hook bending.

“He’ll be missed, that Lyons, there
      is no use pretending,

As will be Rick Voss who dances
      off to retirement

All those parking tickets in 2018
      will be tougher to tolerate.”

“Thank you Ricky and Marty,
      thank you truly and deeply

The City misses you already,” muttered
      the Grump, almost meekly.

“Happy holidays to all,” shouted
      someone from somewhere.

“Some things get us down, 
      but others are fair.

May 2018 bring us more clarity

Of thought, and compassion,
      the bywords of charity.

The portrait then straightened,
      fading back to the wall,

And the Grump at last wished
      Happy New Year to all.