Thursday, February 24, 2005

Visionary Mayor Needed

Make sure to check out this excellent piece in the Metroland on urban planning. Some good history on why Albany has so many vacant buildings that are rotting in our neighborhoods and why the current system basically is set up (unintentionally) to make it very difficult to reverse this trend. It also mentions the idea of a different way of taxing property that would encourage investment and development in the city. This plan has worked in other cities. We need to change the tax system because the one we have doesn't encourage investment as outlined in the Metroland article.

" a property-tax system that is based mostly on the assessed value of a building, rather than the locational value of the land, encourages neglect and abandonment because they make property taxes go down, whereas investment in buildings is rewarded with higher taxes."

This isn't going to be easy. Its a big problem. But if we want a true renaissance in Albany it will be necessary. What is the first ingredient required according to the article?

"a truly visionary mayor who wants to have a lasting effect on the health of the city overall"

Read the article. And start thinking about how you can get a "truly visionary mayor" that won't tell you that your city has undergone a "renaissance" when the downtown is ghost town full of empty buildings and the city is resorting to eminent domain to "fix" problem neighborhoods.