Danger! Large portions of Highland are blighted to the point that they are a “menace to public health, safety and welfare.”
The best way to save residents and visitors from certain doom is to construct a new building for the police, fire and ambulance folks.
City leaders want a new public safety building, but the price tag several years ago was $12.5 million. They don’t have it.
So they spent $42K on a study that declares large chunks of the city as blighted. That designation allows them to potentially impose a 1-cent sales tax without voter approval. That gives them about $1 million a year for their shiny new building, and maybe some other stuff.
Highland’s sales tax is already at nearly 8 percent. If the city council passes the measure, the rate will go to almost 9 percent in the three large “blighted” districts.
Despite the study’s warning that Highland is a “menace” to the populace, its author turns around and says maybe it’s not quite that bad. “It is not to the extent of every property falling down,” said Keith Moran, president of Moran Economic Development.
The study cites problems with crumbling sidewalks, pavement and buildings. More than 60 percent of buildings show wear, and then there’s all that undeveloped farmland that should have developed. The study discusses inadequate water pipes that could hamper firefighters.
All of which are best fixed with a new fire and police station. See the logic?
If not, there are three public hearings on the “menace tax” scheduled for 5:30 p.m., 5:45 p.m. and 6 p.m. today.