New Bedford’s Police, Fire and Economic Development [OPINION]
Like many older cities in the northeast, New Bedford has to constantly figure out how to fund the services that keep the public safe.
It is expensive to run a city. Cities like New Bedford, Fall River, Taunton, and Brockton have older buildings that catch on fire and older citizens that need emergency medical attention. Cities have some neighborhoods that are conducive to criminal elements and the police have to constantly patrol them. Drug gangs don't set up street sales operations in rural areas for more than a few reasons.
It is expensive to pay for the skilled and dedicated men and women who serve the public as police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians. The only way for a municipality to pay for these required services is with an ever-growing and regularly adapting industrial tax base.
Mayor Jon Mitchell has been on a quest to cut expenses for the taxpayers and grow the tax base of New Bedford. For years he has been working on a plan to add a second industrial park, called an advanced manufacturing campus. After years of conversations and in-depth planning, the mayor and his team have put a plan in front of the city council for discussion and approval or rejection.
The plan calls the municipal golf course to be changed but preserved. The goal of the AMC is for a million feet of land to be turned into industrial space. Mayor Mitchell's plan predicts the creation of 1,000 news jobs at the site. The estimate is for over $2.6 million in additional tax revenue to the city from the AMC.
The city is looking to close a fire station to save roughly a million dollars annually. Lots of elected officials and hope-to-be elected officials have rallied to save the station. Now there is a new source of revenue in the pipeline. What will happen with the city council this election year?
Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.