Reasons for moving to the suburbs:
You like spending a whole lot of time in your car.
You like spending a whole lot of time on your lawn mower.
You are sick of witnessing crime and poverty.
You want to pay more taxes . . .
Wait a minute. Really? We may assume that the tax burden decreases when you move out of the City of Memphis. But, in a very interesting article, the Commercial Appeal highlights a University of Memphis study showing how things may not be as they appear for DeSoto County. Read the full article here.
There are lots of issues to consider in analyzing the true cost/benefits of suburban living - school tuition, gasoline expense, security costs. I am more interested in how our taxes are spent. There may be a couple of hundred dollars difference in tax burden, but is that money being invested in the community equitably? The Coalition for Livable Communities has tracked infrastructure expenditures look at what we have found:
Hmmmm. I pay my taxes, but I live in that area without a green dot. There are a few roads in my neighborhood that could use some work. (Or a bike lane!) This forces the question: Are we spending money almost exclusively outside the urban core (with the exception of South Main and Mud Island) because the people who live there need that work to be done? Or does the work done in this outer ring encourage people to migrate to well-maintained places? Who pays to widen the roads to get commuters out of the city as fast as possible?
I am committed to my neighborhood and to the concept of Live Where You Live. I am making the investment. Sadly, by the looks of that doughnut hole in the map, I am not being met half way.
posted by Sarah Newstok, CLC program manager