In case you missed it, the Austin City Council officially killed the Trail of Lights this past week, in favor of channeling the three hundred and seventy some odd thousand dollars it would have cost to park maintenance. While I can hardly argue that our parks could use more maintenance, $370K seems like a paltry amount to spend on one of the things that Austin is famous for. I’d argue that it’s things like the Trail of Lights that make people thing “wow, Austin is such a cool city..I want to live there!” The Council might want to consider it an investment in Austin, much like all the other multi-million dollar investment projects the City endorses (and gives massive tax breaks to).
I encourage all ALG followers to go to the City website and express their displeasure.
On a related note, while thinking about what to write in this post, the $10 million dollars that Austin Energy pays into the Economic Growth and Redevelopment Services Office was on my mind. Trail of lights seems like, say, THE PERFECT THING FOR AUSTIN ENERGY TO FUND, but I guess not much of the money for the Trail goes into the pockets of any big players around Austin, so it’s probably not an option. Anyway, I was wondering what Austin Energy’s budget looks like. Weirdly, I couldn’t really find much. Even the department’s own annual report is strangely lacking in any actual profit/loss statements. The lack of detail in this report would be criminally punishable if it were a publicly traded corporation. Weird….