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Established June 2, 1997
by citizens for citizens
March 16, 1998
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August 13, 1997
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The Real Cost of Development
(This is one of a series of "Facts" about the value of preserving open space prepared by the Charlestown Citizens for Open Space in the spring of 2008.)
In an April 4, 2008 article in the Phoenix Norm Vutz, a supervisor from Schuylkill Township, our neighbor, described Schuylkill Township "as living fat and happy" while proposed developments were coming in. Once the developments were completed, "the need for services" consequently grew, and the excess of funds depleted". Resident William Paul, commented on the "800 percent tax increase over the past three years."
Schuylkill Township is not unique. Surveys by independent organizations indicate that the problems faced by Schuylkill Township are common:
A Penn State study of 11 Pennsylvania townships demonstrated the fiscal loss from new development. Two Bucks County municipalities comparable in demographics and home values to Charlestown were included in the study. Bedminster Township found that each new home cost $1.12 in services for every $1.00 in added tax revenue. "Open land" required 6 cents in services for each tax dollar. In Buckingham Twp. $1.04 in services were required against $1.00 in taxes paid and open land in Buckingham cost 16 cents for each $1.00 paid. (1)
A study by the Brandywine Conservancy found that the costs for London Grove Township in Chester County were $1.19 in services for every $1.00 collected for residential development compared to $.03 of every $1.00 for farmland.
The answer to preventing increased taxes resulting from excessive development is to have balanced development plan, a plan that provides access to new homes while maintaining open space. The only way to insure that the Charlestown Supervisors can maintain the balance is to provide them with the means of funding they need to protect our open space.
Preserving Charlestown's farms, woods and fields is the one sure way to keep our taxes low.
(1) See: Kelsey, Timothy W., Calculating a Cost of Community Services Ratio for Your Pennsylvania Community, PSU Press, College of Ag. Sciences Coop. Extension (1998) or: http://www.pubs.cas.psu.edu/FreePubs/pdfs/ua327.pdf
(2) See Brandywine Conservancy, Chadds Ford, PA Conservation Opportunities for Corridor Preservation and Community Development January, 2004. 2 See the GVSD web site: http://www.gvsd.org/index.pl?id=2432
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