Snow and Financial Productivity

[Edit: tax numbers are in for the new apartments]

We can argue at length about the right levels of taxes and services that we would all prefer to have in our city, but at the end of the day, you have to take in enough money to provide the level of services – roads, police, schools, and so on – that you would like to provide.

One way to accomplish that is by using the land in a financially productive way. Land that sits empty takes in relatively little in taxes. Land that has structures for people to live and work in is going to provide more revenue.

Every winter is different here in terms of big snow storms, but they are illustrative of how infill development that uses already urbanized land more intensely is a financial win. For instance, below is the satellite image of the land where some apartments YIMBYs advocated for were built.

The existing roads are already plowed when it snows. So all the extra tax revenue from this new housing can go to pay for other expenses in the city. The road department doesn’t have to plow one single extra bit of road!

The new apartments take in about $300,000 of tax revenue.

No extra plowing necessary!

Let’s also consider some single family units towards the edge of town:

The whole cul-de-sac needs plowing, paid for by the much smaller property tax take

All told, these pay in around $44,000 in property taxes – far less than the apartments – and do require snow plowing on the road built to let people access their homes. They also require more roads to be paved, longer sewer pipes to reach all of them… more of everything, for only 16 homes. The apartments house a lot more people, utilizing a similar amount of land (slightly less, actually). And furthermore, the people living in them have the option walk or bike to a lot of local amenities that are close by, saving the roads some wear and tear, and keeping some pollution out of the atmosphere.

This is not to say we should all live in apartments, or not allow single family units or anything like that. But where there’s a market for apartments or condos in Bend, they’re a good investment that we all benefit from.

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