I think the City of Rochester has a far stronger negotiating position than people realize. A lot stronger than the Town of Webster.
Cities like Rochester have inherit value that suburbs and rural areas don't. Cities have high population densities that allow for less cost per family on infrastructure. The dense population also creates business opportunities that don't exist elsewhere because of a larger population.
This extra wealth can be reinvested back into the city in the form of public works (like schools) or it can concentrated into the hands of a few people who live lives of idle luxury on the backs of working families.
Cities are being rediscovered by both empty nesters and a younger generation that reject the high environmental and social costs of the suburbs. The City of Rochester is more "valuable" than ever.
That the City still exists at all to be valuable is thanks to the people who stuck it out while people fled during the suburban sprawl of the last fifty years. So now that the City has this new value, it should be the people who have serve as it's caretakers who benefit from it.
That's not what's happening though. Instead valuable land and infrastructure is being gifted developers for a dollar and decades of tax breaks. Real wealth in the form of valuable land and infrastructure is being used to enrich outside developers instead of the common good.
This has to end. I'm not saying that the City may not have to negotiate. But we need a strong mayor who knows the City's TRUE value and negotiates a fair price for its use. Not somebody who will just give it away for a dollar.
"...they’d put the region at an extreme competitive disadvantage over communities who do offer the deals. "
That seems like a hell of a statement. Most of these developments are meant to service the people of Rochester. You can't build a restaurant for Rochester customers in Syracuse. You can't build a condo for Rochester residents in Buffalo.
A lot of developments could still be very profitable while paying a tax rate that allows us to maintain the city's infrastructure and raise the next generation of Rochester (and the next generation of these businesses customers too.)
The current leadership has been focused on slashing services to meet reduced revenues and not focusing nearly enough on actually growing revenues.
There's a generational shift occurring right now. Urban living is much more popular among young adults and new empty nesters alike. Developers have been cashing in on this trend by building new apartments, condos and townhouses in the city.
You'd think that the city would be cashing in too, but that hasn't been the case. There have been a lot of tax giveaways to the developers instead. The logic is that the tax breaks are a catalyst for the development, but this development would have happened due to market demands regardless.
Alex White is the only candidate who's talked about making sure developers pay their fair share of the costs of the infrastructure they profit from. I'm tired of being asked to choose between closing a library or a rec center so that we can slash taxes on luxury condos. New leadership is needed across the board and I hope people look to the Green Party to provide it.
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