... population fell by roughly 7 percent in the decade, from 10,105 to 9,353. Surprised?This blogger was not surprised! And I bet my readers are not surprised.
So were a number of city officials and residents.
Utica officials and various institutions, particularly not-for-profits, are singularly focused on getting as much grant money as they can. Most grant money is geared to programs for the poor. Ergo, Utica's focus has been on its poor.
The recently passed Utica Master Plan and its drafts put this in sharp focus. Why in the world would Utica need more "affordable housing" as called for in the Plan when it already has the most affordable housing in the nation according to recent surveys? Why try to require that all developers set aside 20% of their units for "affordable housing?" The answer to both questions is that federal programs have a lot of money for "affordable housing" and the "20%" criterion is a requirement. But the Federal programs are geared to large metropolitan areas where housing is very expensive -- which is not the case here. So the result here creates more harm than good.
Utica's citizens who are a bit higher up on the economic scale have been paying the bulk of the taxes that keep the city going. But their needs have been ignored because there is no pot of grant money for officials to dip into for them.
They are "getting out while the getting is good."