This is the first year that I have no project of my own submitted to the Community Preservation Committee. Therefore, I can freely indicate my opinion without a vested interest as to what projects should be getting first dibs on the money. As we all know, every year there are far too many applying for a piece of an ever-shrinking pie. I’m going to help the public process along by giving some reasons.
Yes, the Community Preservation Committee struggles with this same issue. Every year, they tackle the difficult task of balancing the needs of the project sponsors and the needs of the community over such a small amount. I might add that they have done a fine job each year in struggling with the decisions. I credit Mike Dissette for doing a fine job being the chair. I wouldn’t say one hundred percent but I would say that the majority of the time; they really ‘get it right’. So much so, that the City Council over the years have rarely had to debate the projects, so thorough the CPC vetting has been done.
But each year, the political pressure increases. And with a strong-arm Mayor at the helm; determined to force the money into her projects; and the powerful school lobby using strong-arm tactics like they did last year; it is urgent that the general public get involved. I’m going to use a little of the CPC’s techniques to bulls eye what projects should get the go ahead.
If you don’t like my conclusions; then that is good. Then say so and tell me why! Tell the city why. Tell the city councilors why. Tell the public why. It’s time the citizens have a greater influence in how this tax money that is supposed to help preserve our community should be spent. Too many years, City Hall and the Mayor have increasingly decided where it should go by using the Planning Office as their Pipeline.
Our silence only encourages more of the CPA money being hijacked!
Keep in mind the City Council, not the CPC; has the final say. And yes, the Mayor could veto a project but usually the vetting is so thorough, this has not occurred yet. (yet)
So in my next post, I will lay down my recommendations.
Here are the projects: