ViewPoint: Vote for a better downtown

October 18, 2007

You can get involved in the redevelopment of downtown Albany.

It won't cost you a dime.  There's no risk involved for you.  And it will only take you a few minutes.  All you have to do is vote.

The Redevelopment Powers Referendum will be on the ballot in Albany on November 6th.  If it passes, city leaders will be able to set up special Tax Allocation Districts in areas of town that are blighted or underdeveloped to try to encourage development.  There's no doubt the first district would be downtown, but others could be put in place in parts of east or south Albany.

Here's why it's a good idea.  Nobody's taxes will go up.  It simply means any new tax revenue that comes from new development in a Tax Allocation District must be spent in that district.  The money would go for things such as sidewalk improvements or better street lighting.  Eventually, once city leaders are happy with changes in the area, the district would be dissolved and all tax revenue generated would go back to the city's general fund.

This isn't going to revitalize downtown overnight, but it is one part of an ongoing plan to try to bring new life to the heart of the city.  We commend Albany leaders for putting it on the ballot, and we encourage you to do your part to help downtown by voting "yes."