Friday, March 14, 2008

Council Agenda Tuesday, February 26, 200: Financial Overlay Map-

Public Works director Ray Davis described a council agenda item for bringing garbage services in house. As expected there were large costs associated with labor and equipment maintenance. However there was a marked difference in costs for the district areas, Carlmont and Downtown, and the hilly neighborhoods. A fleet of smaller side loading trucks was necessary in the hills with their unique maintenance requirement. Understandably hills were almost 50% of the total cost but unevenly spread between the districts and the neighborhoods. From a development perspective we should look at how these costs can be equitably distributed.

City Manager Jack Crist addressed another agenda item on sewer rates. Again there was a marked difference between the downtown and the neighborhoods but in the downtown there was a marked difference between residences and businesses, the primary difference being the area of landscaping that gets watered. The city is proposing that costs be averaged out. This means that low flow users will get penalized for using less and for requiring a lower infrastructure development cost for city services. There was a marked difference between low flow ($225) and business ($22,500) in the new rate proposal which would lower the business cost and raise the low flow cost so that they were essentially equal.

At an earlier meeting Ray Davis had described the $30M requirement for rebuilding city streets. Again access , equipment, and manpower are issues here between neighborhoods and districts.

These unequal costs are widely spread. Andres Duany in Suburban Nation says that the primary reason for the loss of neighborhood postal centers was the need to establish large offices with huge parking lots to access the sprawled out neighborhoods that developed after WWII and which overextended the small electric postal vehicles causing a shift to polluting gasoline vehicles and higher costs.

Financial overlay maps which showed the cost of infrastructure and services would make useful planning tools.

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