Tuesday, October 10, 2006

A Chink in the Wall

For those of you who think any discussion with City Council about public housing is fruitless, check out Rob Krupicka's latest newsletter. He noted the top issues that constituents are bringing to him, and of course the politically correct topic #3 was Affordable Housing. But here's where it gets interesting:

People told me that we need to ensure that moderate-income residents -- people with entry-level jobs, teachers, police officers, non-profit workers and senior citizens -- have opportunities to live in Alexandria. This is one of the most vexing public policy challenges. Providing a range of housing choices is not a simple task. The cost to create an affordable home for a teacher can run hundreds of thousands of dollars in subsidies. The State of Virginia does not allow some of the affordable housing regulatory tools that have been successful in states like Maryland. Federal housing support is quickly vanishing. Over the next year, the Council is going to take a close look at current City policies in this area and try to come up with some clear priorities to govern our approach to this complex issue. (Emphasis added)
Well, the Growler may be wrong but this doesn't sound like a ringing endorsement of affordable housing for everyone, and damn the cost in the process. Mr. Krupicka went on describe another top concern of residents, the City's budget.

Average home assessments are predicted to increase by only a few percent and some properties will likely see their values decline. We will need to focus the budget on necessities, not nice-to-haves. I don’t want to see us balance the budget on the back of basic city infrastructure. We balanced most of last year’s budget with capital spending reductions. We can only do that so much before we are saddling future residents with repairing facilities and other infrastructure that we should have maintained ourselves.
The politicians aren't exactly going to wave a flag in voters' faces to say they are ready to rethink, but it appears they are open for suggestions. Why not start the dialog?