The recent municipal election campaign season has seen a lot of talk about infrastructure and the need to improve streets, water quality and other facets of our community.
Various candidates say they can provide solutions to some of these where no action has been taken before.
In truth, solutions to most of our infrastructure problems are simple and obvious, and have been so for decades.
The challenge is implementing these solutions, which in almost every case, involve money. Usually, a lot of money.
There is often talk of obtaining grants to finance capital projects as if that were the magic answer. But grants have been getting more and more difficult to obtain and the current political and economic climate indicates such “free” money will be even scarcer.
The unpopular alternative is for the people of New Albany to pay for things that benefit New Albany.
Some candidates have finally at least said they would favor the issuance of bonds to pay for large-scale city improvements, but on the condition that the citizens show a majority support of the idea.
That may happen, but don’t count on it.
The overwhelming passage of the bond to build a new elementary school and upgrade the other schools was an almost-unheard-of rarity. People are naturally reluctant to pay more in taxes.
We need leaders who are not afraid to make the very hard decision to issue bonds – and consequently raise taxes – for the good of our citizens whether the idea is popular or not.
Ideally, we need these leaders to have the skill to convince us, the general public, of the need and worthiness of this action as well.
Maintaining a city costs money. Improving it costs even more.
If something like bond issues are not undertaken soon, city growth will be slowed or stagnate, costs of eventual projects will escalate and people will continue to complain.
Politicians can act but it is the people who must ultimately take the responsibility for their town’s improvements.
It will hurt for a little while but our taxes are low and we will be better for it.