By Andrew Richter
Anyone who’s heard me speak knows that I often speak of the dangers of public/private partnerships. Business and government should never EVER be partners in anything. The government should of the private sector and business shouldn’t extract favors from government at the expense of the people. Well, right on cue…..
If you are a Brooklyn Park resident and member of a home owners association, I urge you to read the following. As I recall, about three decades ago, townhome developers and the city of Brooklyn Park entered into a mutual pre-construction building agreement. The result was a financial benefit for both builder and city, but a financial burden for future townhome buyers.
Of course it is….anything business and government get together, the people get screwed!
Today 4,664 members reside on 70 HOA privately owned streets that total approximately 14.4 miles. They finance all of the street maintenance costs they live on. This is included in their association quarterly dues. In addition, they also finance their share of the city’s approximately 260 miles of roadways through their property taxes. This excludes several county roads but does included main connecting roads void of housing. Affected members receive no thanks or tax abatement for their generosity.
Thanks? When do the people getting “free stuff” ever say thank you? All they do is demand more!
I recently contacted Steve Nauer, Brooklyn Park’s Street Maintenance superintendent, requesting information on street maintenance costs. I also advised him that the purpose of the research was the possibility of obtaining future property tax relief for all HOA members who pay the same tax rate as their neighbor who live on a city-maintained street. Mr. Nauer was very helpful and cooperative. He provided the following information:
The city street division spends $11,000 per mile, per year to budget for street maintenance (patching, crack sealing, snow and ice control sweeping, etc.). That’s a huge cost, but it could be more. Affected HOA members saved the city $158,400 on this year’s budget. Sealcoating that is required every eight years, at a cost of $19,000 per mile, saves the city another $34,000 amortized over eight years. Replacement of pavement over an average span of 32.5 years costs the street department another $140,000 per mile. This saves the city an additional $62,031 per year. Affected HOA members saved the city a grand total of $254,631 a budget year. Note this calculation is only for a year. Suppose you lived in your town home for 5, 10 or 20 years?
There is an old saying: “What’s good for the goose is good for the Gander.” As an incentive, Brooklyn Park promised millions in tax subsidies tied to job creation by firms such as Target, Olympus Surgical Technologies and Baxter. Target will get about $5 million in property tax reductions after it fills 3,000 jobs in the twin towers recently completed.
While this is a worthwhile endeavor and a benefit for the city, we cannot forget the earlier settlers who provided the incentive for growth in Brooklyn Park. “What’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.” This old adage can easily be proven to be correct in the scenario. A justifiable solution is:
1). The city street maintenance department begins services to all Brooklyn Park’s streets that include HOA areas.
2). Offer the residents who are members of an affected HOA community a tax abatement that would correspond to the financial burden they currently subsidize.
I’m going to disagree, the city of Brooklyn Park should do none of the above. Neither townhome builders nor huge corporations should get a cent. Get the government out of it and let the market control supply and demand.
I urge all affected Brooklyn Park HOA members to contact your district council member along with Mayor Jeffrey Lunde and express your opinion or approval of either of the above options.
Don’t hold your breath for Jeff Lunde to do anything except force light rail down your throat.