Facing Affordable Housing Crisis, Raleigh City Councilors Look to Upgrade... Their Own Offices???
By Brent Woodcox
During last year's Raleigh City Council elections, a subject of great debate was the proposed $165 million renovation/reconstruction of the existing city council offices and campus. At least one candidate took to referring to the plan as the "Taj Mahal City Hall." Now with last year's election in the rearview mirror, councilors are moving forward with their plan for the expensive upgrade.
As a refresher...
At today's city council work session, the issue of the $165 million upgrade resurfaced. ITB Insider had the preview.
Those issues that need to be addressed made it onto the council's agenda for that portion of the meeting. They included:
It remains to be seen what direction the council will go in as the planning process continues. What is clear though is that at a time when the city of Raleigh is facing an affordable housing crisis, it seems pretty distasteful for councilors to be complaining about the luxuries and amenities available to their taxpayer-funded offices.
As previously covered on this site, the city is only managing to fund affordable housing needs at a rate of $7.24 million per year. It would take approximately 23 years at that rate for the amount the city spends on affordable housing to match the amount the city plans to spend on their own council chambers.
This is a case of misplaced priorities and out of touch politicians running up the bill on taxpayers while ignoring critical infrastructure needs and abandoning their duty to ensure equitable access to housing. City council should abandon this project, stop wasting time and taxpayer money on it and refocus on solving the critical issues that Raleigh citizens are facing. What we shouldn't do is take our eye off the ball on affordable housing to focus on building an unaffordable new city complex.