As exciting as the development project is for the old State Hospital grounds on Bull Street, we, as taxpayers, need to make sure that we don't get stuck with 100% of the tab for the cost of improvements to its infrastructure. Too many times, our city council has stepped in to save or fund commercial developments that have left the city strapped for cash or assuming unnecessary debt. This project promises to deliver substantial tax revenue for the city while establishing the site as a bustling commercial and residential enterprise. But in our zest to create such a transformation, let's not get carried away by paying more than our fair share.
It's been reported that the developer, Mr. Hughs from Greenville, now says that he estimates he'll need twice as much infrastructure money from the City of Columbia than he previously thought...possibly as much as $40 million. Sounds like a lot of money to me, and Columbia tax payers should not have to assume the bulk of that cost. Both the city and the developer need to have skin in the game, and it's critical that the city negotiates a fair and equitable funding participation on this project that doesn't cripple future city services.