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I know, I know: I have written about this subject before. But when the Albany City Council is talking about closing the Carnegie Library and Maple Lawn Preschool, what else can I do but try again.

When discussing Albany's serious budget shortfall, a "herd" of elephants is in the room, and it is the Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA).

CARA didn't blink an eye when it whipped out $1.5 million to buy the Wells Fargo building. So, CARA has money in the bank from the funds they scrape off the top of property taxes for all of downtown and at least to Crabtree Automotive on Hill Street and out to the new Albany police station on South Pacific Boulevard, or farther. The city and county are only getting property taxes at 2001 value for all that area. CARA gets the rest ... and we all know how values and prices have gone up since 2001. We're four-and-a-half months short of 2020.

Disband CARA and renegotiate the payback of loans CARA has negotiated.

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I notice no more pie-in-the-sky articles in the paper about moving the elite restaurant Sybaris to the Wells Fargo building. The Albany council should accept the offer from Linn County of $1.5 million for the Wells Fargo building downtown. Albany will get property taxes from the apartments Linn County will build there. Moving the county clerk's office will bring customers downtown. That will help the city's budget a lot more than eliminating the $215,000 cost to man the Carnegie Library.

Mary Brock

Albany (Aug. 27)

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