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MD - Joanne Throwe: Creating a resilience authority for Annapolis and Anne Arundel is a bold way to deal with climate change impact

Combatting the effects of climate change in a cost-effective, fiscally responsible way requires innovative thinking and careful consideration of the challenge at hand.

Combatting the effects of climate change in a cost-effective, fiscally responsible way requires innovative thinking and careful consideration of the challenge at hand.

Elected officials in Anne Arundel County and the City of Annapolis have proposed a solution that fits this framework — a local resilience authority, a tool designed to reduce burdens on taxpayers by bringing in outside investments to fund the region’s critical infrastructure and community assets at risk from climate change.

By establishing a resilience financing authority, county and city leaders will create a nationally unique, independent organization of experts that will transform infrastructure investments from a cost obligation to an investment opportunity.

Traditionally, funding for infrastructure built by local governments comes primarily through public budgets — from local general funds. Governments issue bonds that must be repaid through future tax dollars, which impacts debt limits, and thus the capacity to fund critical projects in the future. Working in partnership with private investors, the resilience authority will be able to finance projects without unduly impacting long-term debt limits and capacity.

A resilience authority will bring together experts in finance, infrastructure and climate adaptation into a single group that can look beyond municipal boundaries and annual budget constraints to design, fund and efficiently deliver projects for communities.

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