RE: BroadsheetDAILY March13, 2017 Impacted Wisdom Truth
To the editor:
Question: Would it not make more sense to have such a tax go into a special infrastructure fund dedicated to serve a district rather than just earmarked for schools? It is obvious that not only schools are impacted by residential development: Fire; transportation, sanitation, water, health services et al are all under pressure.
Of course this is a harder political sell than just talking about schools.
E. Alfred Lamm
To the editor:
Thank you for Matthew Fenton’s informative article, “Impacted Wisdom Truth,” on the effects of increased residential population on services in Lower Manhattan. The article chronicles well the pace of development in the square mile south of Canal Street, the fact that “tens of thousands of new homes” have been created, with “thousands more” expected in the near-term, while the increase in school capacity has not kept pace. Mr. Fenton reports that while city government has received “hundreds of millions of dollars” from property taxes and transfer fees, only a “tiny fraction” has been allocated for new schools.
The article goes on to cite other municipalities that have imposed impact fees on developers and enumerates the developments projected for Lower Manhattan in the next few years. However the article does not address WHY only a fraction of the increased real estate taxes and other levies collected by the city has gone to new schools. Not mentioned at all is the 1% “mansion tax” assessed on all home purchases above $1 million dollars. It seems likely that many of the thousands of new homes to be created here will be affected by this fee. Rather than accepting that these monies “disappeared into the City’s budget, while funds to build new schools have remained perpetually scarce,” why not investigate how the new-found revenue resulting from increased development is being spent?
The need for more public services in general, and more schools in particular, in response to increased residential population is self-evident. However, rather than creating a new tax as a solution to increased impact on services and infrastructure, why not determine how funds already generated by new development are currently used and why City Hall isn’t serving Lower Manhattan as well as perhaps it should.
Catherine Marks Yamamoto