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February 21, 2014

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So what kind of a piggy bank are they sitting on? Because it is not just anticipated development of 3000 units per year that have to have infrastructure, but all existing infrastructure also needs to be maintained and upgraded from time to time.

Assets are not the same as money in the bank. Do you think they could sell their desalination plant or their pipelines to pay for new infrastructure?

David knows this but he is hoping for someone to buy into his fantasy. Its been a good try but it was a loss from the start. What David really wants is a Socialist solution where the government guarantees builders profits.

The real issue isn't anti growth, sprawl, higher home prices, lower profits, who pays for replacing future infrastructue or the PSBs financial assets. It's about fairness. If you use it, you should pay for it. If you don't use it, you shouldn't pay for it. Developers know it. David, I agree with you most of the time, but this is one time you are using their excuses so they can keep getting subsidized by all of the current rate payers in the rest of the city.

In all the talks about the impact fees, what I find interesting are two aspects that aren't being discussed.

a) Why do developers need to pass 100% of that cost on to their customers? It's interesting to me that the chorus from the developer crowd is ENTIRELY about how it's going to hurt people trying to buy newly built houses and not at all about how this will impact a developer's bottom line. Apparently developers are going to do what they are used to doing and pass on an expense to someone else so that they can keep making as much money as they want to. I suppose that's ok, but I'm wary of people who won't cop to the fact that they don't want it to impact their bottom line.

I don't recall hearing that developers are barely scrapping by like a lot of first time home buyers so I'm guessing they could absorb some of the cost for the new fees if they really wanted to keep developing in El Paso. To me it sounds like they worry that they will lost some percentage of new house sales (because some people just flat out won't be able to pay higher prices for some houses) and they don't want to make less money than they already do.

This is 100% ok and about as American as apple pie, BUT it should be part of the discussion. Otherwise it comes across like the developers are trying to manipulate the situation entirely for their own benefit.

b) Why is it that no one is talking about the fact that more development at the outskirts of the city would lead to more water use? Just because the EPWU has money/assets in reserve right now, that doesn't mean they should use it all up right now when they need to find ways to manage growth and the water use in the city for the very long term.

I may not agree with everything the EPWU has done, but overall, they seem to have done a much better job than many other cities did at planning ahead for the effects of climate change and even long term droughts. After years of drought, the worst we usually have to worry about is not being able to water our lawns as much as we'd like in the summer. We have and are projected to have enough access to potable water for quite some time to come.

I am extremely suspicious of any discussion where the actual point to the impact fees isn't even addressed. Impact fees help provide money to allow EPWU to keep up with the needed improvements/expansion of infrastructure beyond what the developer puts in the ground in their development. This is often exacerbated by continuing to develop outwards because each new house has it's own basic water needs that existing houses don't. I wouldn't be surprised if some year the EPWU started charging impact fees for ALL new houses built in the outskirts or as infill.

We live in a desert David. If the EPWU tells me they need more money to help make sure they can adequately deliver water to my family and I for the next 50+ years, then I expect you to argue against it on technical grounds, not just complaining about how the EPWU isn't nearly bankrupt and apparently is in a great financial shape. That's where I want it to be and I'm quite all right with charging all new construction a fee to help address the fact that water is a very finite resource for us out here.

Just Sayin'', RP, U, and Drakovic, you need to show up at city council March 4th to make your excellent arguments on behalf of the rate payers. Until now, it's only been U. Be assured that the builders and developers will show up in force. Council needs to hear both sides.

BTW, the source of the Woody Pipe conspiracy from Dell City to El Paso is not Peppers. It was initially promulgated by the builders in 2003 when Ray Cabellero declared a water crisis and the builders cried "foul". Then they began circulating the rumor that the crisis was artificial in order to grease the skids for a deal with Hunt for his Dell City water, much closer than EPWUs reserves.

New home construction outside the city limits in Horizon and/or the ETJ - not in the limits of Town of Horizon their water is from the MUD's. Municipal Water Utility Districts (Horizon MUD and Paseo del Este MUD). They tax those homeowners for their water. They sell bonds to pay back the developers for the water and sewer infrastructure they paid to put in. Because MUDs are building a water system out there that maybe some day EPWU will take over or LVWD. So the impact fees for the City of El Paso are they only for housing units built within the city limits? If its for the ETJ not sure how they get to do that except that City of El Paso has first right of refusal on annexation of the ETJ area. I am not sure, but I don't think EPWU/PSB is thrilled with having MUD's in El Paso. But that's how you get water to a development that EPWU doesn't want to extend water service to. The smart growth community of Monticello on the westside off Mesa had put legal notices in the paper that they were forming a MUD. Not sure if it actually happened. MUDs are very common in other parts of Texas.

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