Those who watched my recent debate with Randal O’Toole saw the great graphic put together by Joe Minicozzi of Urban 3 to highlight the ramifications of Lafayette’s development pattern. Here are those two slides.

The first shows the changes in population, feet of water pipe per person and number of fire hydrants per 1,000 people for the years 1949 and 2015. The former data comes from notes on an old map we recovered and the modern info is stuff we’ve been able to map and measure.

The second slide was more my contribution, that being, an analysis of median household income over this same period of time. Needless to say, it has not kept up.

While the city has increased its liabilities ten to twenty times, its residents have only increased their incomes by 1.6 times. That’s the path ending at insolvency.

Cities can experience growth and job creation today quite easily if they are willing to take on a disproportionate amount of long term liabilities. In other words, I’ll gladly pay you Tuesday for growth and jobs today. Well, now it’s Tuesday, in Lafayette and in cities all over this country. Cities cannot continue to grow this way and remain solvent.

It’s time to start building a strong town.

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