If Lehigh Valley municipalities are serious about their long term financial resiliency we have to start doing a better job considering public costs of different development proposals. And do it beyond initial build out and 1st lifecycle of a project. This is called determining a cost of community service (COCS) ratio.
Upper Milford Township is starting to do just that with a 33 acre tract off Rt. 100. Supervisors are doing the math in an effort to determine if preserving the parcel is better off financially for taxpayers over the long term as opposed to assuming additional permanent liabilities associated with a proposed build out scenario.
Basically it’s a return on investment calculation.
Here is the thought process outlined by one Supervisor so far:
“If the Kohler farm is sold for housing construction according to (Rob) Sentner, the cost to educate new students would result in a $2,276,000 school district deficit per year with a total indebtedness amounting to $45,520,000 over a 20-year time-span to educate the new students. All East Penn School District taxpayers would be required to pick up the tab for all those new students.”
“Alternatively, if the township purchases the parcel with as $2 million bond at four per cent interest, this would cost Upper Milford residents much less at $145,428 annually.”
Many residents have strong feelings that preservation makes sense from a quality of life standpoint. And that is important to consider. But there is also a very powerful financial argument.