Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Palmer has had enough

He will run no more forever

Ending months (years?) of speculation, Doug Palmer announced yesterday that he would not seek a 6th term as Trenton’s Mayor.

Citing a decision made in concert with family and a desire to leave on his own terms (not get voted out), Palmer stated he was comfortable with the accomplishments of his 19+ years in office.

Palmer vowed to continue working hard during the last seven months of his term and hand his successor a Trenton in better shape than what it was in 1990. He clicked off some of his notable achievements: lowered crime rate, increased housing/home ownership opportunities, economic development.

Maybe all those years of applying that “spray on hair” to his scalp has damaged his thinking.

Increase in home ownership opportunities? Has he looked at these stats compiled from US Census and American Community Survey (2006-2008) data?

Population 1990 = 88675
Population 2000 = 85403
Population 2008 = 79435
Net change 1990 - 2008 -10%

# Housing Units 1990 = 33578
# Housing Units 2000 = 33843
# Housing Units 2008 = 32743
Net change 1990 - 2008 -2%

# Vacant Housing Units 1990 = 2834
# Vacant Housing Units 2000 = 4406
# Vacant Housing Units 2008 = 6535
Net change 1990 - 2008 +90%

Average 2006 - 2008 Occupied housing units 26,208 or 80.0%
US Average = 88.0%
Average 2006 - 2008 Owner Occupied units 11,340 or 43.3%
US Average = 67.1%
Average 2006 - 2008 Renter Occupied units 14,868 or 56.7%
US Average = 32.9%
Average 2006 - 2008 Vacant housing units 6,535 or 20.0%
US Average = 12.0%

New housing units built:
2005 or later 257
2000 to 2004 339
1990 to 1999 1,079
Total Houses Built 1990 – 2008 1,675

No matter how you look at it, during the Palmer years Trenton:

• lost 10% of its population
• lost 2% of its housing units overall even as almost 1700 new units were built
• saw a 90% increase in the number of vacant housing units
• saw owner occupied housing units drop to just over 43%
• saw renter occupied housing units increase to almost 57%

It is apparent that Trenton lost home owning residents. And the loss of those residents was followed by the loss of businesses and services.

In other words, economic development failed during the Palmer years.

Doug is truly going to have to work hard in the next seven months just to leave his successor with a Trenton as good as it was in 1990.


Dan said...

Sort of embarrased that the Front Stoop pulled together this useful economic data before Reinvent Trenton did. :(

Could you go ahead and calculate the drop in real per capita income as well. Should be able use ACS economic survey and compare Trenton's growth to inflation. Inflation will outstrip Trenton's growth over the last 19 years.

Old Mill Hill said...

No need to be embarrassed.

We happened upon the earlier data on the Missing Mayor website and just built upon it with the most recent numbers from the ACS.

We thought about looking at the per capita income as well but wanted to leave that for someone with more expertise. :)