Episode 28 – A small city does the math on new development
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(Interview starts at the 8:15 mark)
We’ve talked before about the importance of understanding your city’s true financial situation. For the majority of cities across the country, their development pattern has put them in a long-term budget shortfall.
Our guests today are a pair of city leaders who are doing everything they can to make sure their development decisions strengthen their financial situation, rather than jeopardizing it.
Michael Kovacs and Justin Weiss are the city manager and assistant city manager for the City of Fate, Texas, a small city on the outskirts of Dallas.
We talk about their transition from business as usual city management to the realization that their city’s development pattern was actually setting them up to go broke—and the way they conveyed that to staff and council to get them on board with making some pretty drastic changes.
We also talk about the spreadsheet model they have been using in negotiation with developers, to steer any new development in a direction that puts them in a better long-term financial position. And we talk about their economic development strategy, which is focused on a small core footprint in the center of the town, and is geared toward small, local businesses rather than courting big outside corporations.
Link to the Curbside Chat videos mentioned in this episode: https://www.strongtowns.org/journal/2018/7/27/a-strong-towns-crash-course