We’ve talked about what it will take to be sustainable, the types of things (new jobs, families) that we need to meet our revenue goals, and the Master Plan process to create a strategic plan to accomplish our goals by 2020.
One remaining question is “if you need to invest in roads, utilities and economic development incentives to reach our goals, how do we pay for those and build revenues at the same time?”
The answer, in part, is that we are experiencing new growth at exactly the right time we need it to fund these types of expenditures. We have almost $750 million in new construction underway between the new NTE power plant, Nicholas Place Apartments, AK Steel’s Research and Innovation Center and the school district’s $90 million in school upgrades. During those construction periods, the city should see a one time influx of about $2 million in construction-related income tax over the next two to three years.
As those revenues come in, we should reinvest them in support of new business, new families and other needed incentives that bring new jobs and families to the city. This is a one time chance to invest these funds in growth that will survive long after the construction is completed.
Some people have suggested that we reinvest these funds into paving now. While I understand the temptation, I’m recommending against it at this time. Investing $2 million into $161 million in paving needs only covers about 1.5% of your city paving. Investing the $2 million in economic development and the supporting infrastructure needed to meet our long term job and family goals allows us to pave $4 million of roads each year after 2020 instead of $2 million now and hope for the best later. If we get to 2020 and we didn’t utilize all of the construction income tax, it can be redirected into additional paving at that time.
Everything we are working on is designed to expand the tax base and build long term revenues without increasing your taxes to meet city needs. Every dollar we bring in from new jobs and new families helps us get back to sustainable revenues and consistent city services. I hope you’ll continue to support our efforts and talk to your friends about our plan.
Have a great day!