In last week’s recap of the Strong Towns Curbside Chat, I talked about how every city
and town is facing tough financial situations similar to Baldwin’s. It’s hard to believe this is the reality, even while reading examples of it in a recent New York Times
The piece talks about how cities and counties have had to cut basic services — street
lights in Colorado Springs, school days in Hawaii, and a whole bus line in Clayton
County, GA — in order to meet budget shortfalls.
Locally, communities such as Ogilvie have transitioned to a four-day school week based on budgetary considerations, as well.
These are changes that would have sounded unthinkable earlier this decade, but large deficits are driving leaders and residents to rethink what can be cut.
As these stories emerge from communities around the state and country, it becomes apparent that Baldwin’s problems really are manageable by comparison.
While the township may have overbuilt housing divisions and the roads that lead to them, it doesn’t have failing malls, too-costly streetlights or other things it couldn’t afford.
In order to gain sustainability, Baldwin needs to find solutions for a few key issues:
How can the township afford its roads? What can be done with vacant houses and stalled or in-progress developments? How can Baldwin continue to attract residents and maintain its resident-base?
While Baldwin’s problems may be on a smaller scale than other communities, it still faces tough decisions, particularly where roads are concerned.
In the end, to afford its road infrastructure, Baldwin will likely have to raise more money through taxes, or downsize the cost of its roads.
Now the question becomes: which option is more acceptable to residents?