Free money ! It’s enough to get anyone salivating just thinking about how it could be spent. What would you do ? A new car, A house, maybe that yacht you envisioned, sailing the Bahamas, carefree and casual. Sounds pretty sweet. The only problem in this scenario is the fact that there is no such thing as free money. If you were down on your luck and your neighbors chipped in with some financial assistance would you be comfortable spending it on the yacht, or would you get some clothes for your kids, fix that sewer that keeps backing up, or generally take care of some of those things that have been in need of attention but you just haven’t had the money ? All this money, if it ever materializes, comes from our neighbors (taxpayers) and with it, you would think, comes some sort of responsibility to use it to help the citizen’s quality of life.
Wouldn’t it be sad if we found out that in some other state, a city used the money to buy some land to give to a developer to make his project come to life, stimulating his bottom line. To add insult to injury, the city then tells the developer he won’t even have to pay any property taxes because we wouldn’t want to stand in the way of him making lots of money. Let’s hope it doesn’t happen here. Just look at the most recent developments surrounding the controversial list of requests for stimulus money coming from the city offices. http://www.newrochelletalk.com/node/443. Or take a look at some comments on a story in the DC Examiner http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2198792/posts.
While the city officials chase their dreams of ever bigger development, there are still neighborhoods that flood during heavy rains with storm-water and sewage. There are roads that are past due for maintenance. It all creates jobs and serves the communities. There’s a whole downtown that has been neglected and lacking in any real stimulus from the city. It’s been said time and again that the development will bring people and then we’ll see downtown wake up. The two Avalons have claimed to be renting well, so where are the people? Instead of worrying about how to build the next big thing, the citizens would be better served by taking care of the quality of life issues and by getting back to basics and building on what we already have.
The mayor said on his WVOX radio show he would be working with state officials to generate some “flexibility” with regards to the stimulus money’s time frame constraints in getting projects off the ground. How about safe , convenient parking, for downtown to make people want to make the trip, coupled with Jim Killoran’s downtown tram to get around. There is an amazing pool of talent in New Rochelle and it’s time to listen to some other concepts, because whatever the city has been doing hasn’t panned out.
LeCount Square and Echo Bay, the latest follies will cost the taxpayers tens of millions of dollarsin lost tax revenue, choke the already jammed streets, add to the already overloaded waste-water treatment problem, and in the case of Echo Bay, all but destroy the quality of life in the East End section of town. Is it fair to rush the city yard move just to accommodate a developer? Everyone agrees the DPW not only needs, but deserves a new facility, so why not look at some of the recent parcels opened up by stores pulling out of New Rochelle or next to the treatment plant ( oh, that’s right don’t get in the way of the developer) instead of dropping it on laps of the folks in the Beechwood street area.The paradigm seems to be, let’s lure developers here with the promise of tax abatements and giveaways so they can build big projects that don’t work as planned. If money is going to be spent, let it be well spent and let’s be transparent about the process. Let’s go beyond what’s merely required by law. All to often I hear people say, “when did that happen” or, “how did they get away with it” It’s sad to think there may be some really good ideas that aren’t considered purely because the political door has been closed on them. The Armory is a great example of that behavior.
;This city is a perfect size. The flavor of a city balanced by the beauty and serenity of suburbia. So, do we need another twenty thousand people moving in, I don’t think so. I would suggest working on making this fine city even better by building on what we have, not building what we don’t need. And that, my friends, would really be stimulating.