The Herald said our state is facing a $2 billion money shortage. Then, on Jan. 14, I read our mayor’s letter requesting some of that money the state doesn’t have. (Jan. 13, “MLT looking for first-time help.”) He says we taxpayers have “already contributed over half” the infrastructure costs of downtown revitalization and want help with the rest. If cities are lining up for money I want us up front, but planning should be based on realistic expectations. Being realistic, citizens of MLT should expect to pay most of the rest as well.
The mayor’s pleading also says “Ultimately the project will lead to more tax revenues.” But that’s the same promise made in 2006 when this downtown thing started. “Ultimately” has been a long time coming. America is still swimming in debt. The nation and the state are bringing in far less revenue than projected back then. So is MLT, but the calvary isn’t coming.
Begging for outside help only creates a false hope that someone else will buy what we want for us. Meanwhile the total bill for all the grandiose dreams within the 2007 Town Center Plan is growing ever larger. That includes the still far too expensive $25 million Civic Center Complex which will come to a vote for a third time in April. So far the dreams have been heavy on cost with very little verifiable benefit.
It isn’t progress if we can’t afford it.