Fiscally Based Planning
Thursday, November 3, 2016
3:30 p.m. - 5 p.m. CDT
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The post-WW II suburban development pattern combined with aggressive growth policies has left many communities with tremendous amounts of infrastructure to maintain, deteriorating water quality and supply, and gridlock on state and local roadways. Elected officials and staff continue to get pressure to do whatever it takes to recruit and retain businesses and improve quality of life for residents. Many communities are critically dependent on debt service to fund capital improvements, yet still don’t have near enough funds or bonding capacity to address all of their needs. Public and private sector debt across the country is at an all-time high, the national economy continues to be fragile and volatile, and the municipal bond market is facing more scrutiny than ever before. Cities that want to remain fiscally solvent in the future must face these realities and make significant changes to how they plan, fund and implement projects.
The path forward entails adopting an approach that integrates planning, engineering, urban design and municipal finance perspectives and encourages citizens to lead change through small, incremental improvements in local neighborhoods. Community leaders must have honest conversations with residents about their infrastructure assets and liabilities, financial constraints, and environmental realities. Planners and engineers must work together with finance directors and other city leaders to identify and implement projects that will have the highest impact on city finances and quality of life, while minimizing impacts on natural and community resources. Most importantly, we must engage citizens in transparent, meaningful conversations about the need for change and involve them in identifying and implementing solutions in their local neighborhoods.
In this session, presenters will discuss how they have combined their experience in planning, engineering and finance together to help different cities and neighborhoods understand these issues and establish a path forward. Related case studies and resources from organizations such as Strong Towns, CNU, GFOA, Autodesk and the Institute for Sustainable Infrastructure will also be discussed.
Michael McAnelly, email@example.com