We went out to make a few arrangement in the village today.
We stopped in the village office building to pay our yearly taxes. There was an elderly man at the payment window. He was holding a thick pile of money all 1 lei bills. I am pretty sure he worked hard for everyone of those bills. His taxes came to just less then 300 lei. He was holding 3 packs of 100 1 lei bills. He handed them over to the lady behind the window and she began to count.
When the money was counted she handed him back his change. He was polite and humurous and said he had just enough left for a drink. She didn’t laugh.
We then paid our taxes and as she returned our change she said that there wasn’t enough for us to get a drink.
We then stopped at one of the bars to pick up a pack of cigarettes for our neigbor – and indeed the old man was there holding a drink.
We then went into a shop to get bread of our neighbor … and we decided to splurge and buy a (soft) drink too 🙂
Our yearly taxes came to a total of 1260 lei (it was actually a bit more because we got a few discounts for paying early in the year) which included:
- Car: 936 lei
- House: 6 lei
- Yard: 71 lei (this supposedly includes some terrain around the house + the others structures on it).
- Terrain: 301 lei (this includes the rest of the almost 9 hectares of land we own).
- Fire Department: 12 lei (we’ve seen what looks like an old firetruck drive through the village center once or twice).
I am tempted to draw a few conclusions from this, but I am not interested enough to actually think them through and put them in writing. I leave you to it.
We then went to pick up 4 liters of milk – 2 for us and 2 for our neighbors (not the cigarette neighbor – different ones). The going village price of a liter of fresh milk (milked from the cow the same day) is 2 lei.
We stopped at our neighbors to deliver their milk and chatted for a while. We are exploring with them a possibility to market their produce directly to customers instead of selling at the city markets (as they currently do). We learned that they pay over 6000 lei a year for renting a space in two of the city markets for 2 or 3 days a week. That probably accounts for at least 70-80 percent of their profits.
It wasn’t always like this. The markets used to be open-spaces where farmers paid a symbolic fee for selling their produce. Then the city decided to create better markets. It took away the open spaces, put them in the hands of private business-people who built closed spaces and now charge farmers a tremendous fee that eats most of their income.
You do the math. I started to, but I am to angered by it to actually sort it out and put it in writing. I leave you to it.
I can tell you this … if city people were to depend on me for growing food for them in this economic configuration, they would be going hungry.