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Letter: Progress comes at substantial cost

Published: Wednesday, Nov. 6, 2013 5:30 a.m. CDT

To the Editor

Two topics in Friday’s Daily Chronicle were very interesting to me. I am pleased to learn the DeKalb County Board has created the “Zero Waste Task Force” and its goal to reduce landfill waste.

A federal study completed in the early 1970’s in St. Louis demonstrated that everything from rotten tomatoes to broken cement blocks could be economically recycled. Why it has been so carefully ignored for forty years is a good question. I hope the Task Force can learn a great deal from it.

The editorial on the ShoDeen development was articulate but appeared to leave out two rather important aspects. About 10 years ago, the DeKalb City Council concluded that the city would be well served by limiting growth to about 45,000 citizens, as beyond that we would incur great problems with sewers, traffic, policing and other municipal costs.

The ShoDeen development will clearly increase our population well beyond that goal and incur many costs that they won’t be paying.

Thus, taxes well beyond that brought in by the development will be needed. Another tax need comes from the burden of residential increases as compared with commercial and industrial development. It appears that residential land requires almost $150 in services for each $100 in taxes it pays. Industrial property usually comes out about even, and farmland requires less that $20 in services for each $100 paid in taxes.

Many will say that makes no difference because we don’t have farms in the city, but they forget that we all pay county taxes also. The net result is that farmland provides a subsidy that helps make up for the costs of residential land. There will also be less farmland for food production.

So we can all count on more traffic jams, longer times to travel across town, greater costs for all municipal services, and further tax increases as a result of the “good agreement” with ShoDeen.

Some progress is not all that desirable!

Jack Bennett


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