To the editor:
Is the rec complex and the development it will foster financially prudent?
Dolph Simons makes excellent points in his June 16 column.
One of the first questions that must be answered before we approve this project is, “What long-term financial obligations would this development impose on the residents of Lawrence and will the tax revenues from the development cover those costs?”
The financial analysis must include the long-term financial obligations for the roads and other infrastructure needed to support the recreation complex and for the adjacent commercial developments it will generate.
Consider what the Strong Towns organization (http://www.strongtowns.org) has shown:
“What we have found is that the underlying financing mechanisms of the suburban era — our post-World War II pattern of development — operates like a classic Ponzi scheme, with ever-increasing rates of growth necessary to sustain long-term liabilities...
“In each of these mechanisms, the local unit of government benefits from the enhanced revenues associated with new growth. But it also typically assumes the long-term liability for maintaining the new infrastructure. This exchange — a near-term cash advantage for a long-term financial obligation — is one element of a Ponzi scheme.
“The other is the realization that the revenue collected does not come near to covering the costs of maintaining the infrastructure. In America, we have a ticking time bomb of unfunded liability for infrastructure maintenance. The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) estimates the cost at $5 trillion — but that’s just for major infrastructure, not the minor streets, curbs, walks, and pipes that serve our homes.”