Sunday, May 11, 2008

Getting The Comparables Right

Some opponents of the Beale Street Landing project – which is vitally needed to reinvigorate a riverfront ready for embalming – have recently taken to asking how Memphis City Council can justify spending $29 million on the project while considering the closing of libraries and community centers.

It sounds like a no-brainer. After all, $29 million is about 15 times the amount needed to keep those facilities open.

Unfortunately, it’s misleading, because the $29 million for Beale Street Landing is in capital funding and the $2 million needed for libraries and community centers is in general funds.

As a result, while $29 million may be the total cost, the bond payments are about $1.2 million a year.

More to the point, great cities don’t make choices between quality of life and libraries and community centers, because they recognize that to be successful, they have to invest in both.