Thanks to LURA and other board members

From The Editor’s Desk
By 
Kathleen Gilluly
Thursday, August 5, 2021

Having been on the receiving end of working long hours with a board only to have a city council upend the results of that work, I empathize with the LURA board members and the City Planning Director Nick Altonaga.

The July 27th Laurel City Council meeting is a case in point. The council voted down half the projects recommended by the LURA board and Planning Director with no real justification. Either the city council does away with voluntary citizen boards and staff and do all the work themselves, or trust those boards and volunteers to do what they’ve been tasked to do and to follow the guidelines set out for them. The guidelines consist of the official Laurel Urban Renewal

The guidelines consist of the official Laurel Urban Renewal Plan which is posted on the city’s website and was required to be in place in order to create the Tax Increment Finance District. It should be the blueprint for how the city proceeds with implementing new projects and funding for LURA grants to remediate blight and improve the city’s infrastructure to strengthen our tax base and lure more new businesses.

Under a previous administration, the City of Laurel attempted to get rid of citizen boards. It is hard enough to get folks to participate in local government and those that do should be acknowledged and championed, not have their work challenged. If the council chooses to spend the TIFD money on a street project, so be it, but put guidance in writing for the LURA board to follow so they aren’t just tilting at windmills.

Thank you to the members of all the city boards, commissions and panels. Your commitment to Laurel is laudable.

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