Among the topics at its retreat on Thursday and Friday, the City Council is expected to hear a report about the condition of the city's pavement.
Monday, February 02, 2009
If you've driven on city streets you'll probably not be aghast to read that the pavement's getting worse. And the cost of repairs is rising. The City Council, in its wisdom and its zeal never ever to raise taxes for anything, including police officers, for years has skimped on street repair money, and it's coming back to haunt the city as the maintenance backlog just gets higher.
Further, as people drove less due to higher gasoline prices, the state's gas tax revenues went down and thus, the state money given to the city for its care of state-owned roads (e.g. Providence Road) went down.
The link above is to a PowerPoint presentation, so it's a bit terse in its descriptions. But note the slide about the cost of annexation versus the revenue from annexations. Worth pondering.
I think the city's been wise to continue annexing, because cities that can't annex become financially and geographically strangled. But the revenue figures do set you to thinking about the degree to which sprawling conventional subdivisions simply don't pay their full weight in property tax revenue -- especially when so many of the new subdivisions in the past decade were low-end starter-homes.
Let me just note that higher-density and mixed use developments bring in higher tax revenues than the 3-per-acre autopilot subdivision growth which the city essentially waved into existence for decades.
The bottom line is that if you want to develop land, you can automatically do precisely the stuff that doesn't bring the city enough revenue to pay for itself -- single-family conventional subdivisions. But if you want to do something that might bring in more tax revenue, you gotta jump through a bunch of hoops.
Posted by Mary Newsom at 10:48 AM