Friday, November 14, 2014

Cavalry is pulling out of Dodge

You only thought you'd been hearing city officials go on and on about "doing more with less" these past few years.  Just you wait.
On top of that, the city will be receiving less money from the Federal Emergency Management Agency as it crosses more and more Hurricane Katrina-related projects off its to-do list.

Grant said New Orleans needs to have “at least another several hundred million” dollars available on an “ongoing basis” to invest in capital projects. As it is, the city on its own will generate only about $250,000 annually, through donations and the sale of property, in the next five years to use for that purpose.

According to the five-year Capital Improvement Plan, $883 million will be available to spend on capital projects from 2015 to 2019. Sources of funding include FEMA, other federal and state grants, and airport revenue bonds.

The bulk of the funds, $609.5 million, is dedicated to building the new terminal at Louis Armstrong International Airport. The rest will be used to repair streets and make improvements to city-owned buildings such as City Hall, the French Market and fire stations.

The plan includes no money for parks and other recreational facilities or for libraries and museums.

It also does not include any money from new general obligation bonds.

“We will be entering into a very robust process here in the coming year to figure out what’s the next program,” Grant said. “Truth of the matter is, we will not see major addition of federal dollars infused in the capital budget in coming years.”
Because the federal stimulus of post-katrina rebuilding is ending, and because the default mode of state and federal aid to cities these days is, "drop dead," it's safe to assume the good times (these were the "good times", believe it or not) are coming to an end.

The city's long term solution is to make up the difference in property tax revenue.  This means they're going to need property values to continue to inflate at the ridiculous rate they have been. It also means, they'll continue to do everything they can to help build nice things for rich people.  Or at the very least, allow more and more of the local housing stock to be sold to investors planning to use it for vacation rentals. Because when gentrification is the policy choice, having too many actual residents in your city becomes a burden.

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