I have been suggesting to various Council members and planners in Sudbury that they need to do one simple thing before they make any more financial decisions. They need to know where their revenue is coming from and where it goes. In other words, they need a map like the one below.
The green spikes on the map show the parts of the City of Lafayette that pay in more than the city spends on them. There is a lot more red, both in area and in volume: Lafayette is going bankrupt.
Sudbury is going bankrupt too – it is running up a huge infrastructure deficit. The city in on its way to the fate of American cities that have had to stop paving their roads. Wait a minute! Didn’t we have a report to council from KPMG in December that the city will never bring all its infrastructure up to standard?
Council members are considering a master plan for the city that doesn’t show which areas pay for themselves and which don’t. If they don’t have that map they are not competent to approve a master plan. They can get the map simply by ordering the planning department to produce it. The planning department can get help from the clever people who made the map for Lafayette. It is easy. There really is no remotely acceptable excuse. Get the map or resign, friends.
And once you have the map, make sure every development satisfies one of two conditions. (1) It can be in the green areas, or (2) it can prove it will generate more than it costs.
Any development that does not satisfy (1) or (2) is being subsidized by the taxpayers in the green areas. That would make the council members accessories to daylight robbery. Of course they are accessories to robbery now, but they keep it in the dark.
Get the map or resign.
And publish the map so you citizens know you have done your homework.
There is more information about the map and what it means at https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2017/1/9/the-real-reason-your-city-has-no-money
Note to my friends on council: don’t take this too personally – I like to express things vividly so it is hard to pretend you don’t understand. We all know that most City councilors in Ontario are willfully ignorant about where their money comes form and where it goes. You can be head and shoulders above the mob of local politicians if you just take this advice.