I'm long overdue in noting the unfortunate end of the Franklin Cultural Center board's efforts to fund and build an arts center here. The organization was chaired by Don Dorson (read his letter after the jump). So much for local community amenities.
I also just started reading a newly published book called THE CUL-DE-SAC SYNDROME: TURNING AROUND THE UNSUSTAINABLE AMERICAN DREAM. And there's Franklin - a favorite for authors and journalists needing an object lesson in sprawl economics - on page 53:
High-growth areas nearly always translate into higher property taxes. One study in Dane County, Wisconsin, where the tax burden is among the highest in the United States, showed that while the county's population grew 12 percent from 1990 to 1996, total property taxes soared 3.57 times faster than the population. Part of the reason is that developers rarely pay the long-term costs of building communities. Impact fees are often minimal.
Once subdivisions are built, builders are off the hook to fund schools parks, roads, and other infrastructure. In fact, the disparity between what a single-family home costs taxpayers and what developers pay is huge. In Franklin, Wisconsin, just south of Milwaukee, each new home cost taxpayers more than $10,000 for schools and services in 1992 (it was considerably more by 2008). The developer's contribution: $813 per home. Impact fees vary from locale to locale, but they never cover the full cost of development.