Over these past months, I’ve talked to thousands of people about dozens of topics.Now, I’ve obviously heard many comments and concerns about the state of our roads. And I’ve heard about street-specific issues of speeding, drainage, and safety. And while these seem like disparate issues, there has been a theme arising.
Overwhelmingly I’ve heard from residents that they are interested in change. Typically, I’m hearing this message from people who were – until fairly recently – content with the direction of the city. Recently, however, they have grown skeptical: “If growth benefits everyone, then why are our property taxes increasing so steadily?”
Taken together, the three new bridges, the new art gallery, even the new bike lanes, have come to represent an extravagance out of sync with the current economic reality in this city. Unemployment is rising. The economic future is uncertain. Resident are suspicious of yet more major construction projects, like a new arena downtown.
Between 2009 and 2015 residential tax rates rose by 32.8%. The people that I’ve spoken with don’t feel this is sustainable rate of increase for many more years.