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Reposted: Anonymous Blogger's Top Ten Priority List Anonymous said...

1) Accountability 2) Putting the day-to-day operation back in the administration's hand and out of the council's hand which is what the charter actually says. 3) Putting the City as the leader in economic development and what it sees needs to happen, not have it follow the direction of many self-serving groups 4) INFRASTRUCTURE - if we don't increase our capacity to serve residents and businesses with water, sewer, gas and electricity - we're dead in the water in terms of growth 5) Increasing the tax base - NOT BY RAISING THEM - look at the pockets around the city, that lie within the City which are presently receiving all of the city services and have not been annexed - these are areas the City is losing property taxes on. Go beyond that and look just beyond our borders at areas receiving 3 of the 4 services and consider annexation. 6) Review and scrutinize every current contract for professional services - example attorneys - IF we have a City attorney, do we need an attorney for the Council? do we need 4, 5, 6 additional attorneys on retainer? Put these under contract for specific time periods of for specific projects. (attorneys are just one example) 7) Planning & zoning - get them some help! If we can't hire engineers and others for this department then let's outsource it and be done! 8) Personnel/Human Resources - the fact that it takes forever for someone to be hired at the City is ridiculous! Start running this like a REAL business - post the job internally for 3 weeks, then post outside. Use DOL or an outside source to screen candidates and then process internally - get rid of this someone in personnel is off every Monday and Friday and btw if your paperwork is on so-and-so's desk nothing is done until they come back from leave, vacation, etc. I understand civil service is involved, but other cities have found a way to make it work, why can't we? 9) Downtown - some of you aren't going to like this, but succesful cities have thriving downtowns - this has been proven by researchers. Thriving does not mean it is the hub of shopping, it means downtown has been reinvented in most places to something eclectic - an alternative place to go, built usually around something historic, cultural, or out of necessity. In our case we have all 3. We have the history downtown - granted Dean presently has it tied up with an outrageous price tag. The only way to get him to move is change the accessed value to what he thinks it's worth and start making him pay property taxes on $12 mill. Cultural - the arts district has a solid foundation with River Oaks and Caughlin Saunders - find ways to use them more. Necessity - government is downtown, therefore it will also be necessary for people to be downtown. Build off that base, along with the artist base to entice others to be downtown after 5 and on the weekends. It can work, but we need some creativity - something that is lacking in our leaders at this time. 10)20-40-year-olds - ENGAGE THEM!!! These are our most creative group of people, they want a reason to stay, they are the most mobile and have the ability to leave a city. Seek new fresh ideas from them. Find reasons for them to BELONG. Not everyone has two kids, a spounse, a house and a dog. There are still people who want to go out, enjoy a good reasonably priced dinner at a non-chain restaurant, enjoy music that is current of various genres and have places to meet with their friends - not necessarily bars and not always coffee houses. Ok, that's my top 10. Sorry if it's more than you wanted.

It's not more than we wanted, my friend. I think you would agree that this is just scratching the surface, but it's still a great list from which to work. Unfortunately, there's one thing we can't do: We can't expect to make Dean pay property taxes on $12.2 million. It's a great idea, but in order for us to do that, an appraisor would have to value the building at $81 million (commercial buildings are assessed at 15%). If anything, we should ask the tax assessor to reassess the building to a lower price (something that would be more in line with true market value). If the building itself is worth $2.5 million (I think that's probably fair), then assess it at $375,000. We must be able to push the asking price down and in line with market.