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Village leaders still bullish, despite economy


 
23.03.2009

Village leaders still bullish, despite economy


 

yiv,23 march - SV Development. Six years ago, there seemed no limit to residential subdivisions springing up in Pleasant Prairie.

I think its been the type of home building that weve provided for, Village Administrator Michael Pollocoff said in August 2003. Weve been looking for larger homes and larger lots, which in turn have larger values. Demand has been outpacing supply in some respects in this area.

Fast forward to today.

The faltering real estate market has the economy in a tailspin. There are newly built homes standing empty, and other residential development is on hold.


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In turn, in planning its 2009 budget, the village axed four full-time positions, two closely linked to construction and development.

Still, even as three more developers recently were granted delays for residential subdivisions, both Pollocoff and Village President John Steinbrink were upbeat.

If our projections hold, the village will be OK. When the economy begins to turn around, it wont come rocketing back, but well add staff back as it does. As far as budgeting, weve already taken the hit, Pollocoff said.

The bigger concern is what happens when real estate values statewide level off, according to Pollocoff.

Not just here, but everywhere. As new value is determined what real estate is worth in the county at some point that is going to affect (home and real estate) prices, he said.

Municipalities, school districts and other local levying authorities wont know how their tax base will fare until the state calculates equalized values later this year.

If your tax base is primarily residential, its going to be difficult, Pollocoff said. The commercial and industrial (property values) may be coming down, but were talking minor compared to residential.

Thats one reason the village is focusing its tax-incremental finance (TIF) dollars on commercial and manufacturing development, in an effort to maintain a balanced economy and minimize the pain for residential taxpayers.

While some might argue the village could help spark residential development by revisiting policies put in place during boom years, Pollocoff said that wouldnt be wise.

The first thing developers would say is, Lift impact fees. But then all those costs get put on existing development. That wouldnt be fair. Thats like a water balloon: Push on it over here, and the water goes over there. Weve always followed a policy of existing development doesnt subsidize new development, Pollocoff said.

Saying, Lets reduce expenses for a developer doing residential only shifts the costs to existing residences. Somebody has to pay for it. In good times, thats hard. In bad times, its even worse. Development shouldnt proceed until the market is ready for it.

Steinbrink agreed. Its not fair to put it (new residential building) on other taxpayers. The bad economy isnt their fault, he said.

Meanwhile, he said he had no concerns about the overall well-being of the village.

Were not under a risk right now, Steinbrink said. The rest of the village goes on. We still take care of the roads and provide services to the rest of the village. Thats our job.

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