I recently submitted an order to the city council with Councilor Croall that would allow non-personal tax dollars (so, not real estate or excise taxes) to be leveraged for higher ticket road and sidewalk improvements. Coming off of a tax increase in 2016, this seems like a great way to give taxpayers a break, and to make necessary infrastructure improvements around the city.
On a frequent basis, I receive requests to repair streets and sidewalks. Unfortunately, there is not enough money to fulfill each of those requests. Sidewalks are repaired in an orderly fashion - a request comes in to me, I refer it to the DPW, the DPW sends someone to assess the sidewalk, you receive a letter confirming the assessment, and then the sidewalk is repaired.
Streets on the other hand do not have a similar repair process - I receive a request, I make a list based on those requests and my observations, and I submit that list to the Mayor's office. After that, I have no idea how the selection process works, but one or two streets on the list might be repaired.
In any event, the city council was recently presented with an appropriation to authorize a bond for $27 million to fund park improvements. Of that amount, $16 million would be used for the Hancock Adams Green. Around the same time, we were presented with an appropriation to authorize a bond for $25 million for general capital improvements. That's a total of $52 million, which is a lot of money. Just to put it into perspective, that equals about 130 single family homes at an average home value of $400,000, or it could pave 105 streets if the average price to do so cost $500,000.
Don’t get me wrong, parks are important. Over the last 10 years or so, the city has heavily invested in our parks. Just to name a few: Teel Field, Faxon Field, Faxon Park, Quarry Hills, Cavanaugh Field, Joseph W. Koch Memorial Field, Merrymount Park, and Veterans Stadium turf. I just don’t think parks are $27 million important in one day. I think we can improve what remains to be improved in the parks over time. I think we can come up with innovative financing for parks. Take the Quincy Parks Conservancy or another public private partnership that would seek to find innovative funding sources. Right now, there are streets that need improvement, and you need a break on your taxes.
Please read and listen to more about this issue through the following links.