It’s all about ratables. But, it’s not about all ratables. It’s about having the right
ratables and the development proposed for the water company property is the
wrong ratable. We don’t need ratables that will substantially alter life in New Milford as we know it. We don’t need a development that will likely end up costing more than the extra revenue it will bring in.
Why do I think this? The part of development that many government officials seem to forget about is the cost of infrastructure improvements that become necessary to deal with the new development.
Based on my experience in real estate, I believe the development will bring in an
additional $200,000 in revenue to the borough. That’s $200,000 in an $18 million budget, a little more than an extra 1%. In perspective, that's not a lot of extra revenue.
If the development happens, look at what we’re in for. We will likely need to widen River Road and Main Street. Is that a million dollar project? The last school expansion cost over $3 million. What will the next one cost? Using FEMA money, New Milford is soon to be the proud owner of five houses in town.
In addition, because Columbia and Harvard Streets and Holland Avenue and
others are in known flooding areas, the assessed value of these houses have
declined by $16 million. What does this mean to you? Every year, the 200 plus
houses in our flooding areas provide over $2 million in tax revenue to the
town. It means that while the homeowners in the flooding areas will see their property taxes go down, the rest of us will have to make up the difference.
So, what’s the best way to deal with this? What we need to do is work diligently to make sure we keep the ratables we have. Why not do what we can to help these people maintain their property values by working to reduce or eliminate the flooding. If we can help them, we can help ourselves. By putting a flood mitigation plan in place, we will ultimately help our own tax situation. If they maintain their property values, they will continue to pay higher taxes and we will not have to pick up some of their share.
Borough Council President
Borough of New Milford