Monday, May 16, 2005

RDAs to Face Legislative Audit

The "assualt" on RDAs continues, with a legislative audit about to begin - see story in the Deseret News.

Criticism of RDAs has become a frenzy, with all society's ills now being heaped upon them. But the original purpose of RDAs was a real and legitimate one, to help reform and rehabilitate areas that were in dire need of such effort. With today's emphasis on smart growth and new urbanism, this goal is more sought after than ever. RDAs can truly be an important tool in such efforts.

But there is no question that the original purpose behind RDAs has been stretched and pulled in directions quite different than the original intent. I think that's because there are other needs to develop infrastructure and encourage commercial and business development, but local governments haven't been given many tools to do so. So everyone uses one of the few tools available -- RDAs -- and makes them fit their situation.

I think there should be a recrafting of the RDA law, perhaps into three or four different kinds of tools for local governments to use, depending on conditions and circumstances. That's a lot of work, and I'm rather skeptical that such an effort can be undertaken by a subcommittee of the tax reform task force.

So -- we may wind up with half-measures and modifications, but the real issues won't be addressed and dealt with. More needs to be done, more time spent and some real work undertaken to craft something useful for the development of our communities.

I'm hoping!


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