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Letter to the editor

Letter: Project doesn't add up


I am writing about 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.

This methodology was developed in the 1980s, 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: $29 cents

Working and open land: 35 cents

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 of Independence in northwest Elbert County 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.

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 will be employed in the metro area and live less than a quarter 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.

Jim Duvall

Elbert County


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