As much as many seem to think that businesses are driving our local economy, they need to see the chart below to know where we get our city’s revenues.
I rejoice when our businesses either in the industrial park or at Storey Avenue or Downtown prosper (Those amongst us who think it’s evil to make a profit – aught to go and freeze in an Occupy Wall Street tent!) but our local government derives most of its money from property taxes. I’m happy if businesses expand, hire people and provide more dividends and/or benefits, but they only provide little more than 12% of revenue for our city government to survive.
Yes, we get money from the state but it’s been shrinking over the years. It has become ever crucial that we maintain high values on real estate in Newburyport. Local historic districts have a long history of keeping values high and more importantly stable.
As the Daily News mentioned today on Savannah; its LHD is small but it is the engine for the entire city. In turn, our expanded LHD will sustain our real estate to a strong stable level by which we can pay for not just our city services such as the firemen, public works and police; but our schools. Families need quality schools for their families. They may live in the non-historic areas of our town, but they will be impacted if revenues fall if we don’t pass the LHD.
The demolition and ravaging of our historic properties has caused hundreds to be lost and according to an ad hoc study recently by Bill Harris; it’s actually accelerating. If Newburyport no longer sustains its heritage tourism status, you’ll begin to see the character of the City dissipated, then values dropping as people move out to a more promising municipal center. Then comes the inevitable drop in services and the scramble for money to keep things going.
People think that because things are good now; they don’t have to worry about the future. Newburyport has had many busts in the past. Why would we want to go back to that!?!
That is simply poor planning.
If we want a good quality of life, good schools and a municipal government in the black; we need to protect the valuable historical assets that have brought us this far.
We will have no other choice!