Jeff Branscome writes about Spotsylvania County.
Clark Lemings Op-Ed Piece
It’s Monday. Not a fan of Mondays. But tonight is the FLS Fantasy Baseball draft and I am the returning champion. In fact, not only did I win baseball in 2008, I also won the football league, too. I pocketed about $550 from my coworkers here. How’s that for stimulus? Now, the word is they are all coming after me. Even managing editor Phil Jenkins is rumored to be after me.
But let’s get to some real business. Tuesday, the supervisors have a joint meeting with the School Board. Hopefully, School Board Chairman Gil Seaux doesn’t talk about bathtubs again. Then, the next night, the Planning Commission has a public hearing on whether to charge fees to process and research the applications for 3-acre agricultural lots. I will be attending both meetings. In connection to the 3-acre stories, H. Clark Leming, a land-use attorney and founding member of the Stafford Council for Progress, wrote this op-ed piece.
Someone needs to ask Mr. Leming who exactly is going to buy these middle-of-nowhere lots that will save people from economic crisis in a recession? With op-ed pieces, we journalists don’t get to ask additional questions to bring some clarity to the letter he wrote. In his piece, he compares Spotsylvania with Stafford, who he says has turned into an anti-growth, anti-business nightmare.
The truth is that residential units valued above a certain price point do generate enough revenue to cover public services and are self-sufficient. That price point fluctuates with the economy and the tax rate, but if no house actually paid for itself our local governments would be destitute. Moreover, guess who sets the tax rate? It’s the same politicians who claim that housing cannot support itself. It has become far too easy for politicians to claim that housing requires subsidization rather than to simply raise the tax rate to cover necessary services.
Mr. Leming, I am curious as to what that certain price is for a residential unit that pays for schools, fire and rescue, water and sewer and parks and recreation that the family moves in will need, and want? The county recently went through some major sewer overloads because of the growth, and apparently they are getting ready to build another waste water-treatment plant.
Are we talking a million-dollar home? The taxes on the home, personal property and the money that family will spend in the local economy is enough to cover the costs of having that house built?
The op-ed piece did not get a lot of comments, but maybe you all could debate his piece here. Agree or disagree?