To the editor:
I, too, am concerned that our city is providing subsidies for developers. Recently in “The Council Connection,” Mayor Justin Wilson defended his decision to subsidize the George Mason Hotel by claiming that over the next 20 years the sales and use tax charged to each hotel guest would pay for the subsidy. Furthermore, he indicated that a hotel was a better choice for that location than a residential property because a hotel would generate a substantially higher return on net taxes.
I disagree with Wilson’s decision to subsidize a developer. Instead of developer subsidies, we should prioritize pay raises for our police officers and firefighters and work to mitigate the floods caused by our outdated and poorly maintained stormwater sewer system.
Insofar as our city’s stormwater sewer system is concerned, only 11, or 13%, of the 83 sites in the city that require stormwater sewer capital improvements will receive funding within the next 10 years. This funding includes the work that is necessary to plan, design and estimate the costs for solutions.
Unfortunately, without more money, 72 sites in the city will continue to experience severe flooding for an unknown number of years in the future and a plan, design and an estimate will not be prepared that would otherwise tell us what it will take to fix the problems. I’m very familiar with this situation because I live in one of the affected areas where the city tabled work to solve the flooding problem.
I hope that Wilson and City Council will reverse themselves and put an end to any future decision to subsidize developers. I also hope that they prioritize spending to fund unmet basic services.
-John E. Craig, Alexandria