SOS-Coventry

open space conservation

MUST WE CHOOSE BETWEEN THE OPEN SPACE BOND


 AND MINIMIZING TAXES?

ACTUALLY WE MUST CHOOSE BETWEEN

BOTH OR NOTHING.


If we don't pay for the million dollar open space bond, we'll pay for large subdivisions.  Let's compare the costs.



1. The capital budget is 1.8 percent of the total annual budget.   Over the next 20 years, a tiny fraction of the capital budget would go toward paying back the bond. At that point the bond will be entirely paid off.

By comparison, if even one farm of 100+ acres is developed, we could be paying for 40 or more additional students.  There are many more young couples who are starting in their families in new neighborhoods than in communities of older homes.  Taxes rise to pay for the resulting costs of school, road building and maintenance, public safety and other town services.  These costs account for over 75 percent of our annual taxes.  
2. Last spring Coventry's budget was turned down because the voters did not want to pay for the students we are already obligated to educate.  

3. Bond rates today are very low now.  The cost of paying back the bond will remain this same low rate regardless of  inflation or other economic conditions. By comparison, the cost of town services rises with inflation.  Worldwide, the cost of education typically rises faster than the rate of inflation.

4.  Property values go up for homes near protected open space because more people want to live there and are willing to pay the extra taxes.  This lightens the tax burden on the other Coventry properties.

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Some people believe adding new homes to the town's tax rolls will be a boon to the economic picture. This is a false notion.  Here is a link to a situational example prepared for the town of Brooklyn, Connecticut that shows what can happen when new homes fill open space. 


CAN PROPERTY VALUES REALLY GO UP WHILE TAXES RISE MORE SLOWLY?


When there is a guarantee that nearby open space will never be developed, property values rise because people are willing to pay more to live near protected undeveloped areas.   Therefore taxes will soon rise  about 6-15% for neighboring properties and the rest of the town will pay less.   Tax savings also result from the land remaining undeveloped and requiring few services. describes the tax benefits of protected land.  Here is a link that describes the tax benefits of protected undeveloped land.


In Coventry's 2008 build-out analysis, Paula Stahl from the Green Valley Institute calculated that in Coventry each dollar paid by a residence cost the town $1.06 in services and each dollar paid for open space cost the town $.25.  Therefore the town makes money from tax dollars paid for open space and loses money paid for homes.  





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