In response to Anthony Nelson’s letter published on Aug. 18, I can understand why he is frustrated, but I think assigning blame only to the Metro Council for this year’s tax and bond issue failure is a bit shortsighted.
When Mayor-President Kip Holden first proposed the $900 million bond proposal in 2008, approximately $300 million of the total was dedicated to a tourist attraction with no outside financing and improvements to the River Center. The rest was dedicated to infrastructure improvements.
The public was told the economic development portion of the bond issuance would retire the bonds early.
Despite voter sentiment to separate the bond issuance into infrastructure and economic development portions, we were forced to vote on an “all or nothing” proposition not once, but twice.
The proposition failed narrowly in 2008 and was soundly defeated the second time.
I still believe that had this bond issuance been proposed as a menu of options in 2008, some of the infrastructure and public safety projects would be under construction right now.
Unfortunately, in the past few years, petty politics, the strained relationship between the mayor and the Metro Council, and a weak economy have resulted in voter fatigue.
Even if this year’s bond issuance had been put on the ballot by the Metro Council, I’m not convinced that any portion would have passed.
Our city leaders have poisoned the well for the next few years, and done a disservice to their constituents in the process.