Weisburd Analysis

November 26, 2013
Town Council Meeting

Mr. Mayor, Members of the Council, good evening.

As you may know, I sent to the council yesterday a Memorandum on the Fiscal Impact of the Central West Small Area Plan, together with supporting documents.  As those materials indicate, the report on the fiscal viability of the SAP contains errors of arithmetic and uses incorrect mathematical operations.  The materials I sent recalculate the fiscal impact of the SAP and indicate that the SAP if implemented would generate annual revenue for the town that exceeds the likely annual costs the town would incur in providing services to Central West by less than $6,000 .

That amount is small enough to be a cause for concern in any event, given the importance of revenue generation as one goal of Chapel Hill 2020, but is especially troubling in light of the recommendations of the Planning Board regarding Central West.  Those recommendations highlight the risk the SAP poses of increased traffic congestion and increased difficulties with stormwater runoff.  It would seem that the extra costs the town will incur to deal with those problems, and the difficulties those issues will cause the public, would mean that Central West, instead of producing a very modest positive fiscal effect for Chapel Hill, would in fact harm the town’s fiscal situation.  On that basis, I believe that the Council would be justified in not approving the small area plan right now.  In any event, however, it seems imperative that the council take no action at all on the SAP until the factors identified by the Planning Board are studied, and those studies given careful reflection – acting too quickly to approve Central West may well saddle the town with a fiscal white elephant.

Thank you. 

Mark Weisburd

The Town’s fiscal analysis referred to is found here.

 

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