One of my concerns for Auburn, which I have spoken of many times, is our city’s declining population. In my recent debate, current board member and incumbent Terry Cuddy said, paraphrased, that a shrinking population is not a measure of a city’s health, plus we should focus on our quality. of life. After all, New York and all of the Rust Belt states have seen their populations decline since the 1950s.
This is, in fact, not true. While Auburn’s population has grown from 36,700 in 1950 to 26,800 in 2016 (-26.97%), New York State has seen its population increase by 33%. In fact, our “Rust Belt” counterparts have all experienced population growth: Indiana + 68%, Michigan + 56%, Ohio + 46%, Pennsylvania + 22%. In fact, Auburn’s population fell from 27,200 to 25,500 during Mr. Cuddy’s tenure (-1,700 or a loss of 6.25%).
Most local governments find incentives to promote population growth as it generates immediate development income in the form of license fees, utility charges, property tax increases and sales taxes.
As a candidate for city council, I am concerned about the depopulation of our city as it results in empty storefronts, abandoned housing and fewer taxpayers bearing the growing local tax burden. Remember, we just increased our City Manager’s salary by 22% (from $ 122,515 to $ 150,000) and hired 25 new city employees for our new ambulance service … so fewer taxpayers means may each of our share of the burden increase! How is that for your quality of life ?!
Auburn deserves a realistic visionary on his leadership team, not someone who doesn’t understand that the consequences of our city’s decisions are driving people away.
Please follow me to Rob Otterstatter for Auburn City Council to read my other thoughts and help me get elected on November 2 to represent your voice in Auburn, New York.
Rob Otterstatter is running for Auburn City Council.
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