The plan, presented to the council in a special Monday meeting, would direct four strategies toward rebuilding the middle class with a "fast track" home loan program, improve the competitive housing product in the city, establish higher rental standards and reduce the overall proportion of rental housing, and establish a program called "Tupelo Promise" guaranteeing four-year university tuition to high school graduates in the city who meet program standards.
The larger goal, based on implementation of all four strategies, would help Tupelo "improve its competitive community advantage," described in the program's executive summary.
Community Development Foundation professional staff members worked with four special citizen committees sanctioned by the council and including council members.
CDF's involvement will continue with the committees and the council as discussions move forward, including attendance at Tuesday's sessions and other meetings.
The committees include members with particular areas of expertise and helpful experience; CDF's staff provides independent knowledge and a broader view of the implications for Tupelo's progress.
Jon Milstead, one of the CDF staff members who worked with the committees, said more detailed information about each strategy is available and can be provided as the council considers a course of action.
The plan, which would not require a tax increase, would involve a $45.4 million private-sector investment in the five-year phase, and $15.75 million city investment. The city's share could be funded with bonds and/or current revenue.
Questions are appropriate and expected; inaction would be self-defeating.
We hope discussion of the reinvestment plan can be measured in weeks rather than months, with implementation no later than the beginning of the city's 2012 fiscal year on Oct. 1.
Some are skeptical of the recommendations - the same kind of questioning that opposed the downtown Fairpark urban renewal bond investment, $22.7 million, also without a tax increase.
Fairpark is the object lesson for planning, expectation, and success for the long term.
Private investment in Fairpark has exceeded original expectations, totaling $88 million. Tax revenue since 1996 has risen 192 percent in the downtown overlay district, driven chiefly by Fairpark. Taxes for the city, county and the Tupelo Public Schools all have increased with Fairpark investment.
The success model surrounds City Hall.