People very rarely believe me when I point out that Albemarle County actually loses money on each new resident. “But,” they say repeatedly, followed by a mention of a revenue stream that a) has been accounted for and b) doesn’t add up to much. Charlottesville Tomorrow points to a great example of this: the cost of Biscuit Run. The county’s Fiscal Impact Analyst wrote a memo about the total costs of the development that considers the cost of all additional services and additional revenue via taxes and contains this alarming conclusion after looking at both an optimistic and a pessimistic scenario:
The numbers generated by the two scenarios that I ran indicate that, if the County approved [Biscuit Run], the differential net annual fiscal impact would be $4,399,000-$6,665,000 = -$-2,266,000. That number means that, annually, the County would be $2,266,000 worse off approving [Biscuit Run] than denying the proposal. [A twenty-year analysis] in the former reveals a deficit of $88,665,000 while, in the latter case, there exists a deficit of $134,578,000. The difference between those two numbers, $45,913,000, means that, over the course of the twenty year period, the County would be $45,913,000 worse off approving [Biscuit Run] than denying the proposal. […] After taking into account the [developer’s] cash proffers, the new differential would equal $25,213,000 so, over the course of the twenty year period, the County, according to CRIM, would be roughly $25,213,000 worse off approving [Biscuit Run] than denying it.
So this new development may well cost the county $134 million. All of that is on top of the $88M in improvements required to 20 South, Avon, and Old Lynchburg just to handle the additional traffic. For reference, the entire annual budget for the county is just north of $300M.
Even if we wanted to take a vote to see what percentage of Albemarle wants to pay more taxes in order to add 5,000 new residents to the county (and I guarantee you that wouldn’t pass), it wouldn’t matter: the county isn’t given the power to stop developments like this, and a majority of the BoS wouldn’t consider stopping Biscuit Run. How we deal with growth is broken. Totally and utterly broken.