20 years ago when Beaumont was a small town, struggling financially and looking to grow their way out of their problems, hiring a consulting firm probably made good sense. Urban Logic has proven they know how to grow a city’s population and how to work with developers to build houses.
I believe Beaumont is at the point in our City’s life cycle that we need a more mature growth strategy. It’s time to focus on taking our city to a new level, a level Urban Logic has no experience developing and they are showing their inexperience. They have only had one client, the City of Beaumont, over the last 20 years. They appear to be struggling with the growth they’ve been so successful in building here.
We are a much different city when Urban Logic was first hired. They have no experience consulting cities in the later stages of growth. Employing a strategy of funding the housing growth on the back of the future homeowners of the home developments through Mello-Roos bonds may have worked in the early stages of the growth of our city but this financing strategy is designed to build housing developments. Mello-Roos funds are designed to support the communities who are paying the interest and premium on the bonds, they were never meant to fund city wide infrastructure such as highway interchanges, bridges, and desalination plants.
The City’s current strategy, designed by Urban Logic, to use Mello-Roos funds for city wide infrastructure is, at the least, poor resource management and most likely illegal. Instead of fighting citizens’ request for public records and calls for internal control audits, they should be opening their books to the public and offering the City Council and our communities more appropriate funding strategies for the growth we need now.
Urban Logic and the City of Beaumont are both entering new territory, neither the City’s administration or Urban Logic have been here before. It’s time to hire experts who have a proven record of developing a bedroom community into an independent city. A city that has the resources and services to take care of all its residents.
Our City Manager also lacks the experience to move Beaumont to the next stage. I know he is comfortable working with his friends from Urban Logic but he needs people with a different type of experience than what Urban Logic can offer. We need a strategy to bring retail, health, higher education and technology jobs and businesses to Beaumont. And we need a financial strategy where all citizens share the burden, not just the new residents in the CFD areas. Why should our neighbors continue to benefit from labor force and sales tax revenue? A strategy guided by Urban Logic that doesn’t satisfy the wants and the needs of our community.
It’s time to thank Urban Logic and free them up to move on to do what they do best, developing a small town into a bedroom community. While many may appreciate what they have accomplished here, they have been well compensated for their work and we don’t owe them another 20 years. We need to enter a new chapter in our community’s life and Urban Logic has no experience in the type of growth we need now. It is important to the future of our city to find and hire people who have had experience with building an independent city. We should employ department managers with more appropriate experience who don’t also have a financial stake in the projects they recommend to our city council. We are well past the point of needing a consulting firm.
Tomorrow night the Beaumont City Council will be considering renewing Urban Logic’s contract. I’d like to see our council stand on their own feet, show some courage, and do what is best for our community’s future.