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Neo

How is your city dealing with the recession?

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Most cities are hurting right now for the loss of tax revenue from closed businesses and a downturn in consumer spending. To balance the budget, most cities have taken steps to reduce their budget. One example for my own city is the elimination of being able to pay your utility bill with a credit card. This saves over $200k just in credit card processing fees alone, and while I'm not happy about being charged a couple of bucks to use my credit card to pay the bill, I understand the need for it.

What are some of the things your city is doing to ride through the downturn?

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my city London, Ontario are talking about making their airport larger to become a cargo destination, the idea it will create jobs as well as attract more buisnesses. Another idea being devloped is a high speed "Bullet" train like in Japan that will connect Detroit/Windsor to Montreal. Another idea going around is to re-create the London/St. Thomas/Port Standly rail line, this would connect London to Lake Erie.

We also has a planning expert from Vancouver to look at London, Ontario and help us with redesigning our downtown, such as creating a European style plaza and opening our downtown libery garden so people in the street can have access to it.

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In Hartford things have been hit and miss.

We seem to be doing relatively well in terms of job loss and foreclosure, but we never got the boom times Charlotte or Florida or really anywhere else got.

The construction projects that looked shaky when proposed are not happening. For some reason however we have a tendancy to hang on to ideas for decades however.

projects like the following just keep chugging along in some form of failure but never dying for DECADES.

Front Street

Capewell Nail Factory

Public Safety Complex

NH-H-S Commuter Rail

Plaza Mayor

101 Pearl

Coltsville

honestly I could go on with this list. many of these projects were proposed as long as 10 years ago and many have failed been re-born, or been redesigned a dozen times. All of these projects are however still alive in some way or another, and believe it or not the recession is even helping to accelerate some of them.

The mayor put the public safety complex and capewell on the main street stimulus list.

The public safety complex even broke ground 2-3 months ago as did Front street (after a frekin decade)

coltsville has a new developer

The commuter rail is in HIGH GEAR (thank you Biden!!!)

So in a way we have more construction going on than we had during the peak of the boom. We only have a residential project under development sadly, and thats a renovation. We only have 1 sexy proposal on the books. A new 12 story LEED platinum building to rplace a decrepit 3 floor tv studio.

Amazingly they are nearing construction on the office. so maybe recession time is our construction boom time?

honestly though institutional development has been our main activity for a while now. between the state funded science center, public safety complex, several expansions of our universities, even front street is state backed.

Job wise it sucks up here right now. we only have a few major employers, and relatively few mid sized firms. so, with The Hartford not doing well, a major source of jobs is handicapped. We are a finance/insurance town, and things are tough.

we may be lucky as Aetna looks like they will be buying up smaller rivals

Travelers will likely make some acquisitions since they are so strong riht now.

United Technologies has been very public about saying they are going to do more than the usual (2Billion) acquisitions they do each year.

Northeast Utilities is moving its HQ downtown and expanding its transmission unit big time.

If the mergers go our way, we should be fairly well positioned in say 2014 when our commuter rail is scheduled to upen connecting us to NYC through New Haven, and making us the center of the connecticut river knowledge corridore. I am hopefull that this regional rail netowrk will be a boon for the city

The city for its part has decided to cut services and seriously rasie taxes hoping the state and fed can bail them out.

but since the city can not suppurt itself so well as it, thats been par for the course since 1960.

56% of our budget goes to the school system wich is ranked last is the state historicly.

just today however results are in and the efforts are paying off as city schools are making huge gains on suburban schools.

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Things actually in Jackson have not been all that bad.

1.) Several small commercial/retail projects and a new bank have been started in the city recently. The Thompson Hills development in North Jackson appears to be getting the first green shoots of development. However with this said, many substantial retail and commercial projects are on hold or seeing very slow development.

2.) Housing prices have not really taken a beating outside the 250K and up range, so the housing bubble really hasn't hit hard here as of yet. New housing starts actually continue in North Jackson., and are actually have continued at a decent pace in the city's primary exurb/bedroom community of Medina.

3.) The city was able to market and sell the former Maytag industrial facility to Carlisle Tire before Maytag had even completely closed down its operations, replacing -in numbers- most of the jobs lost at Maytag. In addition the city has offset job losses via its ability to win consolidation decisions by local industrial firms over other cities, bringing jobs from other plants to enlarged operations in Jackson.

4.) The new Environmental Court is starting to have a very noticeable impact on blight in the city.

5.)The city recently received the 3rd largest federal grant in TN to hire more police officers. This should greatly help efforts to curb recent increases in crime across the city since 2003.

Economic activity may be down for sure, but the city and metro seems to be fairing very well (knock on wood!!). This stands in stark contrast to the West TN, outside of Memphis, as a whole, where things in some areas are pretty bleak as far as job losses go.

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Most cities are hurting right now for the loss of tax revenue from closed businesses and a downturn in consumer spending. To balance the budget, most cities have taken steps to reduce their budget. One example for my own city is the elimination of being able to pay your utility bill with a credit card. This saves over $200k just in credit card processing fees alone, and while I'm not happy about being charged a couple of bucks to use my credit card to pay the bill, I understand the need for it.

What are some of the things your city is doing to ride through the downturn?

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Not sure either, but my city is in good financial condition. Operates in the red. Very responsible planners. No application for federal bailout or project money. Things at least seem to be humming along. :thumbsup:

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My city doesn't appear to be having any problems and things seem pretty ho-hum with government here, at least with the city government. Now the county and state governments, thats another ball game!

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For Buffalo, since the regional economy has been in the doldrums since the 1970s, it seems like business as usual. With no real estate bubble, there was no bust. There are problems with vacant housing units in Buffalo's troubled East Side, but the foreclosure crisis mostly bypassed the city and region. It's one of the few parts of the country where residential real estate prices continue to rise, albiet slowly. Excepting a few neighborhoods, in the Buffalo area, a house is a roof over your head; not an investment.

The pace of new commercial and retail development hasn't slowed a bit, and in the case of the city of Buffalo, it's actually accelerated a bit. Gentrification continues to transform Elmwood Village and North Buffalo, but real estate prices remain reasonable by national standards. The suburban streetcar suburbs like Kenmore, Snyder, and Williamsville seem to have been rediscovered by young professional homebuyers.

Of course, being a planner ... it's looking bad in the field. The only bright sports are transportation, where there's stimulus money. Many local governments have hiring freezes or are laying off planners. Politically, it's easier to let planners go than public safety workers, even if police and fire departments are overstaffed.

Sam: in suburban Austin, development in Hutto has ground to a halt.

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