From Patrick McGrady:
Our politicians in Aberdeen are back at the wheel, trying to steer the residents of Aberdeen down a path in which they have no interest.
The Mayor and City Council had a “retreat” at Ripken Stadium a few weekends ago, where they started to work on their plans to solve the problems here in Aberdeen.
Some of the ideas have merit, but are approached from the wrong angle. Mayor Bennett proposes securing investments for a pub or bar in “downtown Aberdeen”– we can describe this as the area on W. Bel Air Avenue between the train tracks– and he explains that we need to eliminate height restrictions for this to happen.
We do need to eliminate height restrictions because central planning does not work, but we cannot replace the current restrictions with hoops that only the politically connected can jump through. Remember, Mayor Bennett’s campaign was funded by thousands of dollars from large developers and lobbyists. Make no mistake, when politicians advocate for special interest handouts, there is a reason for it.
The City Council, unless they cut deals behind closed doors, cannot know which type of business or person would be most inclined to invest in a downtown (without taxpayer handouts), and I am not willing to spend other people’s tax dollars to find out. This is not a bad thing, because we don’t need to know who will invest here! If we establish a healthy climate for investment, it will come, without subsidies.
If we want real economic growth through private investment in Aberdeen that will benefit everyone, the path to success is three simple items:
1) Taxes that are predictable, low, and fair for everybody. No handouts to businesses or individuals. These distort the market and cause other problems. — The budget is coming up soon, keep your eyes peeled.
2) Water and Sewer bills that are predictable, low, and fair. This may as well be a tax, and year after year, the City Council votes to approve higher water and sewer rates.
3) Planning and Zoning rules that are predictable, concrete, and fair.
Until we reduce the burden of high taxes, fees, and bureaucracy in Aberdeen, the only businesses we will get to invest will demand taxpayer handouts that our City Council are more than happy to oblige. I will break down each of these three items with concrete solutions in soon-to-be submitted writings.
None of the Council members return my emails anymore, and perhaps that is their right. But I encourage you to demand good government without the shroud of secrecy and central planning.
P.S. At a council meeting last month Councilwoman Landbeck pre-emptively defended her plans to vote for increased water/sewer bills once more by pointing fingers at me. I do all I can to speak truth, and like I said when I was a candidate for Mayor, I would get arrested before voting to increase the water and sewer rates on the folks in Aberdeen.
What I meant by that is that we must be willing to fight for the folks in Aberdeen. We must push back against the legislature, the Governor, and whatever other body tries to drive up the costs of living in Aberdeen. Keep in mind when your Councilmembers vote for higher fees, taxes, and higher water and sewer bills, they are working for you.