The hallmark of a strong community is a local government that is focused on its shareholders; on serving them, on the co-creation of a place, this municipal corporation of 'us'. Citizens certainly are not experts in how to reduce stormwater runoff, or pave roads, or engineer a utility project; but citizens of the village do know how the built environment makes them feel, and how they would like to feel.
Local government will benefit when we move from merely serving customers to engaging citizens by bringing local government closer to the people. Orienting towards our people and elevating our strong citizens, the people who care, will ensure we create Bellevue by design, our design.
The goal of our community is to endure. We must have the revenue to cover our expenses. The budgeting of local government, our balance sheet, is a continuous game; if we fail to have revenues that exceed expenses, we do not go away, declare bankruptcy, or sell our assets, instead we linger on and provide services poorly.
Farmers grasp this principle. Open fields are not just a grid outline of future development. Land has to have a certain level of productivity and you do not squander or waste it. We need to be very intentional about the land assets inside our municipal limits.
In very simple terms, infrastructure is a platform for expanding wealth. If infrastructure doesn’t build enough wealth to justify its construction, it’s not a productive investment. It’s merely a form of consumptive spending.
Chasing growth or jobs at any cost is one that puts us in a position that ultimately we will become insolvent. When we focus on making our community more financially productive, we may not grow as fast, or produce jobs as fast, but what we create will be viable and will be enduring. Small changes over time can bring about big results.