Quick comments on two unrelated yet very related subjects:
*The Census Bureau has asked immigration agents to halt enforcement raids during the 2010 census so illegal immigrants can be counted, according to the Associated Press.
Similar fears seriously hampered Shelbyville city officials' attempts to conduct a census last year. They say power hookups indicate a population of about 21-22,000 but found it was obvious many illegal aliens were trying to evade being counted.
The Census Bureau's 2006 estimate of Shelbyville's population is about 19,000. I'd imagine it's quite a bit higher if you factor in illegal immigrants.
Hopefully a correct count can be obtained next time. Increased federal funding depends on those numbers. And if immigration laws aren't going to be enforced locally, we might as well get money for the increased population.
Another note: Factor in multiple subdivisions just outside the city limits -- those in which it's just like being in Shelbyville except for no municipal services or city taxes -- and what I'll call the "city zone" population is more like 25,000. It'll keep growing.
If the city was more aggressive about annexation -- and note I'm not saying it should be, just pointing out a fact -- its property tax base could grow accordingly, although the cost of expanding city services, adding street lights in new areas, etc., would also rise.
*The Federal Reserve is adjusting its discount rate on loans to banks today due to problems facing mortgate companies.
"The markets have been pummeled by a rapidly spreading credit crisis that began with rising defaults in subprime mortgages -- home loans made to people with weak credit histories," the Associared Press reports. "Now the problems are spreading to other borrowers. Countrywide Financial Corp., the nation's largest mortgage banker, was forced to borrow $11.5 billion on Thursday so it could keep making home loans."
It seems like what I'll call substandard subdivisions -- those in which the homes appear in disrepair within two or three years after construction due to owners' lack of care -- seem to be growing and growing in several areas in and near Shelbyville. Note that I'm talking about a few particular areas, not all new developments.
Look closely at the foreclosures listed in the print edition of the T-G classifieds. A high percentage are coming from those struggling areas.
There are plenty of good, honest people in those subdivisions who take care of their houses, pay their bills and probably wince at the condition of some of their neighbors' residences.
But I wonder if some unwise loans are being made just to fill some of those homes, considering the foreclosure percentage.