As summer is heating up, the City’s Council’s work for the current session is winding down. This week’s letter discusses the Charleston church shootings and the City’s capital budget.
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Tomorrow (Monday) morning at 8:45 at City Hall, a public ceremony will take place to lower the flag to half-staff to recognize the victims of the Emanuel AME Church shootings in Charleston last month. A group of civil and religious leaders will share brief remarks to express our community’s sympathy and support for the injustice that occurred, the congregation’s inspiring response, and the responsibilities we have in its wake.
Last Tuesday, the Bond Study Commission approved a Final Report (with Exhibits and Appendices) describing the City’s bond finance program. The City Council will formally receive the Report at its upcoming meeting on Thursday, July 16. We all know the City’s public buildings and public facilities are in need of extensive repair and maintenance, and this problem longstanding. Many of us also understand that the problem has not been addressed adequately in the past because it requires a commitment of resources that the City (and its residents) have been unable or unwilling to make. The Report provides the information to quantify the investments needed to rebuild the City’s infrastructure, and the resources available (through bond financing) to accomplish that goal. The Report makes recommendations to develop a comprehensive capital investment plan to match the City’s needs with its capabilities. The Report describes how the City will have up to $87 million available to invest in new capital projects over the next two years, and similar amounts of bonding capacity that will become available at two-year intervals thereafter. If used wisely and carefully, these resources can be sufficient to address the City’s needs; however, this will require greater focus and discipline than we exercised in other bonding decisions currently on the City’s books. It is my hope the Report will provide a call to action to rebuild the foundation our City needs to pave its return to prosperity and greatness, and to enhance its residents’ quality of life.