It has come to the attention of the progressive professionals who run the City of Concord that plowing newly constructed sidewalks is putting pressure on the city budget.
Somehow they have discovered a flaw in the “let’s build sidewalks and get some national recognition” for our smart growth plan.
The Winter 2011 flaws:
1. Federal free money has dried up – that never crossed their minds.
2. A court case from the 1890’s keeps the city from mandating property owners clear abutting sidewalks – like old court cases and constitutional rights mean anything to city officials in 2011.
3. Extra sidewalk plows needed to be purchased – instead of consulting fees for and endless array of other city plans?
4. Looks like global warming has brought more snow in recent years – but most people expected that, right?
5. And then you have the non-profit Concord 2020 vision for downtown Concord whose top thinker had this to say in the above article: Jennifer Kretovic, executive director of Concord 2020, said current sidewalk policy creates an unsustainable model. "It's a struggle, because there are areas where we need to have sidewalks put in . . . but yet how do we get the resources out there to get the areas plowed?" she said.
6. In an earlier article, pre-2011 snowstorms, in the same Concord paper Jennifer was selling this vision for Concord: Jennifer Kretovic, executive director of Concord 2020, gave an estimated cost of nearly $7.2 million for the project last night, though she warned that figure is a placeholder and based on the 2006 proposals. The city would seek 80 percent of the project cost in federal grants, she said, with the city providing the remaining 20 percent.
This leaves some questions:
1. Isn’t the bait and switch Federal/State matching grant scheme always the way these things wind up costing locals in the end?
2. If Concord 2020 has this vision of wider more elaborate sidewalks for Concord how did future annual costs not fit in?
3. Shouldn’t City Manager Aspell have a sheet of paper with some line item questions such as: how much will this proposed spending increase maintenance budgets and will new equipment and employees be required?
4. If people want to exercise in deep snow couldn’t they just jog around in the new city parking garage? It’s almost empty all the time.
One final nagging question:
Don’t the assessing officials in Concord raise the property values for people who abut new or revamped sidewalks? Are we supposed to believe the city doesn’t know how much new revenue it generated by adding new sidewalks?