Mount Pleasant Don Thurston

Policy Formulation at Mount Pleasant

Mount Pleasant’s Governance Structure calls for the tabling of a new long-term plan by mid January, 2019.

City Council  struck a committee,  Chaired by Eugene Forsythe, Mount Pleasant’s Director of Economics and Business Development. He recruited Professor Vivian Scapolini as an advisor. Dr. Scapolini is the Chairman of the School of Public Policy – FDC University at Mount Pleasant.

A plan summary follows.

Urbanization is now more than ever, a significant force.  Inward migration  continues as  rural populations shrink. Immigrants from away arrive. The population space is further complicated by changing demographics…… aging alters the landscape.

Transformations continue in every component of urban centers. Population increase is  influencing transportation systems, educational institutions, health services, arts recreation and utilities.

Dr. Scapolini’s  conclusion……If Mount Pleasant is to participate in building a vibrant community a  successful growth strategy must be accommodating.

Mount Pleasant is not alone. Cities, municipalities, states, provinces and countries are all vying for the same outcome of establishing spaces in which people want to live.  The essential ingredient is economic prosperity. This universal objective stokes the collective fires of a growing population, greater and improved infrastructure, jobs and citizen’s egos.

Dr. Scapolini then pivoted to strategies that enhance economic growth. Ten components in order of influence are Workforce, Infrastructure, Cost of Doing Business, Taxes,  Economy, Quality of Life, Technology and Innovation, Education, Business Friendliness, Access to Capital and Cost of Living. Embedded are quantitative and qualitative metrics to sustain and build livable cities.

Globally, nationally and locally, jurisdictions of all stripes are chasing the same golden goose….much of it in aid of supporting  strong economies. The luster of a Silicon Valley equivalent pulses through the veins of Economic Development Officers all over the globe.

More services and  capital mean more funding. Increasing property taxes, lowering operating costs and transfers  from other levels of government will not fill the bill. Debt financing remains  the solution. How  much is the question.

Cacophony is ubiquitous when borrowing  becomes a necessary alternative. Examples of discord….. zero is the only acceptable level….. we  area already under a mountain of debt….. politicians are simply buying votes…… our children will have to pay the piper…..we will have to inflate and pay back with cheaper currencies….. servicing costs are beyond belief…… and so on and so forth.

Gauging the financial effects of debt financing on Mount Pleasant must encompass analytics such as the debt to gross domestic product….that is how much are we prepared to borrow compared to the strength of the cities economy. Financial health of political entities are widely available. Bond rating services are only one example of many.

Dr.  Scapolini concluded her remarks.

Across the world the drive for economic development is intensifying. Promotional strategies are more sophisticated than ever before, universally more elaborate, and generous.

Populations are increasing. New arrivals increase the social and economic complexities.

The quality of life is a significant driver, hence capital is required to construct all components of infrastructure.

Financing with borrowings is necessary.

Diligent and transparent debt monitoring are essential.

At no one time will there ever be an economic plan that is acceptable to all the citizens of Mount Pleasant…..hence there  are  always political risks.

Thank you for inviting me to participate in this important policy making exercise….now for a Q and A.

In short, Mount Pleasant’s growth strategy will need to incorporate these factors as the go forward plan evolves.

Thanks for reading!

I would love to hear your thoughts. Drop me a line in LinkedIn or contact me directly.

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