Monday, January 23, 2012

The Fine Print

Whenever John or the City posts documents, take some time to check them out.  I know a lot of this is dry analytical stuff but it's worth it to read over because it gives interesting insights into City Hall's perspective.

This caught my eye:  General Fund Resources & Uses Forecast

It starts out as an overview of economic conditions facing Dunwoody and a perspective on approaches to keeping the city financially solvent consistently as the economy fluctuates.

This quote from page 6 is worth pondering:

We benefit from a more educated work force.  The unemployment rate for those without post-secondary degrees is more than double those with post-secondary degrees.  Without doubt, it is my opinion our strongest weapon for fiscal resiliency is ensuring our labor market is trained and ready for growth while attracting those businesses that will hire our labor.  

No one will argue against the benefit of having large companies relocate to Dunwoody.  Large corporations provide a lot of jobs and a lot of benefits.  But a large portion of the city's business community is in small businesses and entrepreneurs - the things that create large businesses.  If our citizens are smart enough to be hired, are they not smart enough to create jobs as well?  If we are smart enough to attract corporations, are we not smart enough to create home-grown corporations  inside our borders?  There is no mention of the impact of the small business community in Dunwoody in this report, and nothing about intentions to create businesses at home, rather than just attract them from outside.

The economic growth we saw in the 2000s came from small businesses, not large corporations.  After an economic decline, like our recent recession, the small businesses were the first to recover.  Small businesses are a key indicator in economic recovery after a decline.

Does City Hall recognize this?  If so, where is that incorporated into the financial recommendations?  If not - why?



Kerry de Vallette said...

Adrienne - my first comment is that the City needs to do a better job of posting this information and the Mayor should request that Warren develop and include an Executive Summary. There is no need for all to have to wade through the minutia. And no one should be reliant on what John posts. This is not a knock on John as he's doing a public service and I appreciate that. Just a point that our City can and should be doing a better job, as this needs to be a priority for them to better communicate the strategy and tactics in play.

Regarding the issue at hand, what the City seeks is to increase the tax base (revenue) as quickly as possible, with minimal investment and time to value. One large company with 200+ employees and revenues > $20M brings in a lot more tax revenue than 200 home businesses that collectively might generate $2M. Sure a couple could grow, but government wants it now. I'm not saying this is right or wrong, just that it "is".

Why do they want it now, that's a whole new blog / rant. Let's just say that in the interim they must focus on investing in projects based on the internal rate of return of the project. There are no "surplus funds" to fall back on to mask the bad decisions that have left us with little cash to "fix stuff!"

I'm just sayin' (cheap plug)

Anonymous said...

I noticed the footnote as well, and have a slightly different take on it. I work with businesses as they select new locations.

First, schools are NOT under the purview of our City. Period.

The only post-secondary school in Dunwoody is GA Perimeter College, and it seems this comment intends to illustrate the importance of keeping GPC in Dunwoody.

Some neighbors seem to feel otherwise.

From my perspective, companies might decide on a location like Dunwoody because we have decent schools for their kids, not so much for an 'educated work force.'

The slide seemed odd to me.