Image Link 07/08//2017

Rooftops: Revenue Boon or Budget Busting Strategy?

-by Jim Duvall

This is a portion of what I said at the recent Planning Commission Meeting during the public hearing on the proposed Independence (formerly Bandera) Development:

“My name is Jim Duvall, and I have lived in Elbert County since 1993.

I am speaking tonight on the tax revenues and cost impacts of residential development.

As my source, I am using a 2010 study from the Farmland Information Center on Cost of Community Services. The FIC is a private/public partnership between the USDA and the American Farmland Trust. I will provide a copy for each of you. The link to the source:

This methodology was developed in the 1980’s, studying more than 151 counties and communities across the nation since that time.

These studies show that residential development is a “net fiscal loss.”

The median cost of community services for different land uses when compared to every dollar of tax revenue generated by these uses is as follows:

Commercial and Industrial .......................$0.29
Working and Open Land ..........................$0.35
Residential ...............................................$1.16

In other words, for every dollar taken in from property taxes, each new home will cost the county $1.16 to provide services.

There have been many statements made by the developer and others in the community that essentially claim “if you build it, they will come.” That we need more rooftops before businesses will thrive in Elbert County. That this type of growth is inevitable.

My position is that growth in Elbert County will happen, but that it must be managed and analyzed with as many facts as possible.

My position is that growth in Elbert County will happen, but that it must be managed and analyzed with as many facts as possible.

Does it make sense to assume that a significant portion of the new residents will drive to Elizabeth to spend their commercial dollars (as claimed by proponents) when they work in the metro area AND live less than 1/2 mile from Douglas County?

Does it make sense to overbuild a project that is likely to cost $1.16 to provide services for every dollar that is generated in taxes? This is a sure prescription for draining county budgets one new home at a time.

Does it makes sense to plan a large development with virtually no commercial use to offset the increased cost generated by residential use…and more importantly, how would any business survive in this isolated location?

For these and many other reasons, I am opposed to this development as currently proposed and urge that you recommend denial.”

In addition to my comments, there are questions as to the validity of the re-zone to PUD from Ag which took place after Bandera was CONDITIONALLY approved in 2009.

—A conditional approval means that certain things had to happen within one year of approval or the zoning would revert back to Ag. We question if all conditions were actually met.

—Per CRS 24-68-104 (1) a vested property right (such as a PUD) expires after 3 years (2012 in this case) unless extended by legislative action of the governing body…to my knowledge, this has not occurred.

—The potential traffic issues have not been adequately addressed allowing for the impact that an additional 920 homes will impose on a two lane county-maintained road.

There are other issues, and yet I believe this could be a development that is good for the developer, the builders, the county and surrounding property owners…but not as currently proposed.

I would encourage you to attend the continuation of this Planning Commission meeting/hearing regarding Independence on Tuesday, July 11th at 7 PM. at the Fairgrounds in Kiowa.