Chapter 4.6

Paying for Growth - Part 2
(Oregon Planners' Journal, October 1998)

By Richard Carson

Is your city paying for or subsidizing new development? If you don't know, then you aren't alone. The good news is that I just published Paying for Our Growth in Oregon and now can you find out. The 80-page publication provides the first comprehensive cost-benefit analysis of the public costs of new development in Oregon, and provides insight into how cities are doing at paying these costs.

Paying for Our Growth in Oregon is the first research report to actually provide facts about both the costs and revenues of growth, to evaluate growth as a municipal budgeting problem and to provide solid financial solutions. The real financial question about growth has to do with whether municipalities are keeping pace with the need to deliver services or if they are subsidizing growth through the deterioration of existing facilities and reductions in levels of service. A few of the report's findings are:

- The public cost of a new single family dwelling is over $23,000;

- Almost 60 percent of this cost is currently being paid by the development industry;

- The unfunded balance of 40 percent could be collected by local government today, but is not;

- 30 percent of all growth is from local births, not in migration;

- New residents are paying twice the property taxes compared to existing residents; and

- The methods being used to finance growth have driven housing costs in all four of Oregon's metropolitan areas into the top 7 percent of the least affordable housing markets in the nation.

Free copies of this report can be obtained by requesting it from me via the Internet. To order a printed copy, send a check $10.25 [now $11.50] made out to the New Oregon Meridian Press, 732 NW 170th Drive, Beaverton, OR 97006. This amount covers my printing and postage.

Richard H. Carson is Director of Oregon City's Community Development Department.

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Common Sense
by Richard H. Carson