UPDATED: Opportunity rings door bell, City locks door

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Opportunity Cost:
1. The cost of an alternative that must be forgone in order to pursue a certain action. Put another way, the benefits you could have received by taking an alternative action.

Investopedia

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New Albany’s City Council last night voted to increase the sewer rate 8%. Your cost, however, will be much greater. In terms of pure dollars, the average sewer bill will increase around 81 cents per year for three years, roughly totaling $2.50 when fully realized. Economic development moneys pledged to the sewer utility, however, will cost each user $4.20 per month. In other words, the average user is out $6.70 a month.

Readers will note that NAC has pointed out that a full 19% rate increase as originally proposed would’ve cost the average user a little over $6.00 per month with no EDIT expenditure. With a much smaller suggested EDIT pledge of $275,000 for five years, users would have spent about $7.15 per month total.

For the amount of EDIT money pledged to save citizens less than half a dollar a month, the city could have totally paid off its portion of the Scribner Place project, turned Market, Spring, and Elm back to two-way streets, and fully funded a code enforcement regime for a number of years. Alternatively, we could have purchased and rehabbed several downtown buildings, provided low interest small business loans and other financial incentives, or built a technology infrastructure downtown to better facilitate the service based businesses that dominate today’s economy.

Instead, meeting attendees were treated to a prewritten statement by CM Bill Schmidt detailing his plan of spending even more EDIT funds on sewers to the tune of $25 million. His reasoning was that, since we were already spending a large sum of EDIT funds on the jail each year, we wouldn’t miss it. Coffey continued his doublespeak assault on the past, insisting at one point that certain parking lots that were supposed to be repaired after sewer work were not, even though he went on to critique the methodology used to repair them. And yes, Price again returned to the home finance paradigm, insisting that one shouldn’t borrow money to pay off one’s debts while conveniently failing to mention the consequences of not generating the funds to pay one’s debts at all, as he has continually advocated.

These uneducated, unprofessional and unimaginative men are simply grasping at whatever straws they find convenient owing to their inability to articulate even a partial vision of what New Albany could and should be. For years, Coffey has stated that things will never get better until we attract a factory to town. While mountains of economic evidence suggest that manufacturing jobs are probably not the wisest of investments these days, suffice it to say that in almost seven years on the Council, Coffey has yet to make suggestion one as to how to attract that mythical factory.

For all the blather that our city government has put forth in the past few years, not a single elected official has produced even an inkling of an economic development plan. Most have simply rehashed our failures and voted to subsidize them with the very tax dollars meant to correct them. We are a welfare state with no commonweal and a citizenry who, thus far, lacks sufficient interest in pursuing one.

If you have a different vision, please share it. We’ve got about 45 cents each a month to pay for it.

Courier-Journal coverage from Matt Batcheldor:
New Albany sewer bills to rise 8%

Tribune coverage from Eric Scott Campbell
New Albany’s sewer rate rises

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