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OP ED: Responsible development for Annapolis

| October 29, 2016, 11:24 AM

Walter Vasquez

Annapolis is in dire need of new economic expansion. The city has a stagnant job growth rate of 0.71%. Time and time again businesses want to come into our community, but have faced stiff opposition with the idea of “too much growth”. Because of this misplaced opposition and the indirect effect of decreased revenues to Annapolis’ budget, the city has been unable to fill needed positions within the community, such as police officers. Not having the right staffing for these positions has resulted in higher crime rates. Other city services have suffered as well.

When it comes to generating revenue for the city, approximately 50% of our money comes straight from property taxes. As Annapolis has the need to tap new resources to maintain and increase economic growth, create jobs, and decrease crime, I strongly believe that we should encourage job growth through economic development to create a climate for businesses that will encourage them to locate here and thrive.

One demographic group in the City and who is struggling, but would be directly and positively impacted with an increase in job growth is the Hispanic community. Our community makes up roughly 20% of the population in Annapolis, yet has an unemployment rate of 7.1%, significantly higher than the national average. Our median household income is approximately $20,000 a year. Bringing in more businesses will directly solve multiple problems facing our city, like unemployment, especially in the Hispanic community. If we focus on bringing in economic development in the form of responsible development, it will help grow the city budget and keep Annapolis’ budget balanced.

I believe that the alternatives, higher taxes on everyone, especially on those who can least afford it, or cutting City services even further are unacceptable. Responsible development can create jobs for all of Annapolis. New growth will help fix the shortfall of revenue needed to hire more police officers and create jobs to help fight crime. Slowing down the economic development for our community is not the solution; encouraging the type of responsible progress that will generate revenue for years to come is.

We have started a coalition of small business owners, concerned citizens and community activists, Annapolitans for Responsible Development, who want to work with the City to ensure that economic growth is spread through out all sectors of the Annapolis community. We want to work with city and county leaders, environmentalists and those directly affected by development. When I see opposition from those who want to maintain their lifestyle, with no regard for others who also live and work in Annapolis, I know that it is time to stand up for what is right.

You can get more information on  Annapolitans for Responsible Growth by visiting our website and signing the petition encouraging all of Annapolis to work together to make our great city even better.



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