Brian’s Beat: New Bedford, It’s Time For Fresh Ideas [Poll]
It seems the young gun has the right idea. Fall River Mayor Jasiel Correira wants to to deploy billboards on government property to yield revenue for the cash starved city. In fact, Correira told WJAR-TV, "There are some many billboards," "we haven't been a beneficiary of any of that revenue.
What a novel idea, rake in the revenue without soaking the taxpayers. Meanwhile, in New Bedford, City Councilor Ian Abreu floated a similar proposal earlier this year. As the FY 2017 property tax rate inches up an additional twenty cents per $1,000 valuation, you may wonder how much has come in from the billboards? Wonder no more. The quick answer--not one penny. Why?
According to a February 2016 letter from City Solicitor McDermott to the City Council the City's Zoning laws prohibit commercial or private sector billboards on government property. How friggin' ridiculous. No billboards. No billboard revenue. How do taxpayers feel about that? That would burn me up!
Zoning laws can be changed. Mayor Mitchell and Councilor Abreu should accelerate this change. If New Bedford can make money from billboards, maybe, just maybe the property tax rates won't soar through the roof like they did in 2015 and 2016.
Hear Brian Thomas on Brian's Beat, Monday-Friday, 10:00 AM-Noon