An old cliche, but one worth repeating --- THINK GLOBALLY + ACT LOCALLY ...
By now everybody recognizes that our economy is sinking Fast !!
Every day we hear of 10's of thousands being laid off their jobs --- and as there is a domino effect --- every industry, service and profession is already affected, or soon will be.
Another old cliche is CRISIS = OPPORTUNITY
There is always an upside to the downside --- think Warren Buffet --- his Billions are a testament to this Truism.
So ,,,,,,,,,,,,, where does Shorewood come into all this ?
As my fellow Blogger Joe Mangiamele (From the Village Square) has been exhorting in his recent blogs --- IT IS TIME TO START DOING SOMETHING !!
I would like to suggest the following Talking Points --- not as complete solutions or "here all, end all" ideas --- but to help start a dialogue that will lead to LOCAL ACTION FOR A GLOBAL PROBLEM ---
And not the least part of which SHOREWOOD CAN BENEFIT WHILE HELPING !!
1) New Police Station --- AB Data Building
a) According to recent articles, as much as 30% of commercial construction workers are unemployed (probably higher now)
b) Construction companies need to cover their Capital equipment costs, even if it means breaking even for a while, so they can still be in business when the opportunity to make good profits comes back.
c) It is no secret that residential real estate values are falling --- yes, even here in Shorewood, but most folks don't realize that Commercial Real Estate is falling faster than Residential !
POSSIBLE ACTION PLAN -- Police /AB Data
(1) Forget the $3.5 million dollar estimate for building, in today's market, I think they will be lucky to get $2 million, and that is what I would offer them. (2) Negotiate HARD with the building contractors --- they need to retain their Good People through these hard times, and they need to make the payments on their Capital Equipment and Overhead --- whatever the estimated build out costs were before, we can probably get the work done for close to half the original estimates. (3) A project that only about a year ago was estimated to have a cost in the $6 million range, I believe, can be accomplished now, with quick action, for $4 million or less, SAVING Shorewood a couple million $$ and helping to keep construction workers employed, and help the contractors stay in business.
2) Replacement -- Village Vehicles and Equipment
a) For most village vehicles, such as police cars, there is a 3 year plan, so that 1/3 of the fleet is replaced every 3 years.
b) Over the years, the Village has cut back on equipment for the DPW, which has resulted in instances in which the DPW cannot do work that had been done in the past, such as clearing snow and hauling it to Wilson Drive.
c) Fuel prices are down --- and YES they will go UP again !!! Fuel efficient -- Green Vehicles and Equipment bought now, will save a lot of money later.
d) The auto manufacturers are in the need of business NOW !!! The future costs of unemployed auto workers will cost us more in the future, than the costs of getting those assembly lines going NOW.
POSSIBLE ACTION PLAN -- VEHICLES
(1) Replace all police and village vehicles this year.
(2) Car manufacturers are offering 0% financing to the public, so we should demand the same for our Village needs. I am sure the math wizzes can figure out the technicalities of this unplanned expenditure and make it work with no interest costs.
(3) Buy American --- Buy Green ........ Ford Hybrid Escapes for the Police ---- already in use by other police forces -- GM trucks (bio-diesel) for the DPW --- Ford Hybrid Focus for other village needs --- Caterpillar Equipment for other DPW needs.
3) Ugrading Shorewood Housing Stock
a) As a real estate broker, I know first hand that much of Shorewood's housing stock is very obsolete in the areas of HVAC and insulation.
b) It is not unusual to find that Owner occupied duplexes have Hi Efficiency furnaces for the owner's unit, and much less efficient furnaces for the tenants --- who are paying for their own gas bill !!
POSSIBLE ACTION PLAN -- Housing Stock
(1) Incentive programs for both Single Family and Duplex owners to upgrade their HVAC and insulation (hi efficiency windows and doors also)
(2) Use a TIF program to provide financing for property owner grants.
(3) Will help to put tradesmen to work, and increase property value.
4) Future Projects Acceleration
a) There are a number of future projects that we have on the drawing board --- Wilson Drive, Sewer Upgrades, Street Repairs and Replacements, Streetscaping etc..
POSSIBLE ACTION PLAN -- Future Projects
(1) Bid them out NOW when construction companies are hungry for work and we can make good deals with manufacturers for items like street lights, benches, asphalt etc ............
5) Current Project Re-Bids --- ACTION PLAN
a) Projects that have already been bid, or are in the planning process --- get new bids whenever legally possible --- that reflect Today's current economic circumstances.
b) Even if a contract has a clause for liquidated damages if terminated --- it may be cheaper to pay those and get a lower price !!
6) Creative Financing
We all know that Cash is King ....... and we also know that credit and lines of credit are sometimes necessary. Especially now that Shorewood can contract out for a fraction of what costs will be in the coming years when the economy comes back, it is crucial that we not incur high interest debt.
REVERSE TIF --- In a TIF the community borrows money, pays interest on that money, and uses the increased value of the property to pay off that debt.
What if we reversed that process --- Shorewood sells financing instruments to current property owners (kind of like bonds) that pay no interest, but are redeemable for payment of future taxes, while locking in the tax rate on that property.
For example: Your Shorewood portion of tax bill is now $1000. You buy a Shorewood Tax Bond for $3000. You redeem one coupon per year ($1000) for payment of your next 3 years worth of taxes. As long as you buy 3 years of current rate of the Shorewood portion of your taxes, that portion on your tax bill will be locked in for the next 3 years.
LET'S GET CREATIVE --- ACTING LOCALLY ON A GLOBAL PROBLEM --- AND SAVE IN THE PROCESS ---
CAN IT BE DONE ????
WHAT DO YOU THINK ?
PLEASE CONTRIBUTE WITH YOUR SUGGESTIONS .............