Demand real planning

Published 8:51 am Friday, March 20, 2009

With the rise in local crime, the growth of gangs, and the current local financial crisis, community leaders and concerned citizens must get involved with the City of Franklin’s budgeting process.

In order to uplift our community, we must have buildings that meet our needs.  Right now we need functional schools, indoor recreational facilities and a homeless shelter.  We need to repair, renovate and build.  We must get involved and demand that our City Council representatives put capital improvement planning on the table and make them a priority.

Maybe someday soon we will be the recipients of federal stimulus funds, but are we prepared to spend these funds prudently to address our needs? Right now, the answer is no.

Community leaders need to place considerable attention and focus on the increasing inadequacies and deterioration of the Armory Gym. The city recreation department has been using this facility, and it is lacking as a recreation facility.

The Franklin School Board should direct the acting superintendent to submit a capital improvement plan to the City Planning Commission. The City Council should direct the city manager to do a citywide needs assessment for capital improvements and then submit this to the City Planning Commission for their review.

The city has never really done capital asset planning and now is the time to start.

As times get tougher we, as a community, must get smarter.  It should no longer be acceptable for our government to lead on the fly, or whim or fad of the moment.  We can do better, and capital asset planning is one important place to start.

Therefore, it is essential that our City Council, School Board and Planning Commission take the necessary steps for planned repair and replacement for local capital assets.

Our city is already struggling financially, and Franklin should be attempting to attract new business.  If this effort is successful, we need to be able to meet the potential demand for increased services and any increasing demand on financial resources. As we grow, our need for recreational facilities, schools, animal shelters, etc., grows. Right now, within the current environment of scarce financial resources, we must adapt and accept that we have a critical need for advanced planning and budgeting.

If we plan strategically and in a timely fashion, we will be prepared for future crises.  We will be able to avoid expensive mistakes that often result from constantly delaying infrastructure upgrades.

I recommend that the citizens of Franklin demand real planning.  We must fight for a strategy for construction, reconstruction, operation, and maintenance of public facilities.  We must make our elected and appointed leaders know that preparing a long range capital improvement plan and budget is an essential process to sound city governance, and our community’s future prosperity.