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Tax revenue Uptown vs Suburbs

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Remarkable how tall our buildings are uptown, and how developed it is for a city of our population. We're also one of the last cities to finish a beltway. Coincidence? I think not.

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11 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

I grew up in the rust belt in Buffalo which is similar to Detroit in many ways.  The challenges those cities face go way beyond subsidized suburban development.  

What's interesting to me is that the consensus here is that suburban residents 'rob' something from 'urban' residents but somehow the same people seem to champion companies and people leaving other cities and relocating to Charlotte.  

Somehow people and companies moving from the urban center to the suburbs in the same region is bad but people and companies moving from one region to another is acceptable.  A little bit of hypocrisy no?

The challenges go beyond suburban development, but stem from a similar place: they took out loans that they can't repay because the city is financially unproductive.

I don't think that suburban residents are robbing urban residents. I think planners, developers, and the DOT are robbing municipalities and everyone who lives in them. I'd much rather my taxes go to pay for a few hundred streetscape improvements than one highway interchange, for example.

The issue with low density is simply: what can we afford? Is this where we want to spend our money?

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23 hours ago, kermit said:

Highway construction, mortgage interest deductions, VA loans and our current system of taxation were all designed to drive the middle class into the burbs. This had the unintentional (?) affect of discouraging urban growth. If we ever want to be a country where more than just the elite get the choice of living in walkable neighborhoods (in addition to the choice of the burbs) then we gotta change this syetem of subsidies that are invisible to the majority of Americans.

Highways were constructed with moving people and product from region to region.  They are obviously used for other purposes and of course every action has a reaction but there was not some back room conspiracy like you suggest.  

As for Urban growth or the opposite of it, there are many reasons why people fled to the burbs.  Not sure if you have kids but 'walkable neighborhoods' are lower on the list for parents than good schools and safe neighborhoods.  Those are just two factors. 

Here is the underlying truth to it all.  We live in a representative democracy and people if they are uncomfortable with their representation or the results or trajectory of their representation are free to move to a place where they are more comfortable.  From the school board to the mayor/city council elected officials make decisions that impact lives.  We have had a front row view here in Charlotte on these types of decisions.  

It's no coincidence that the last Republican Mayor was in 1965 for Buffalo or 1962 for Detroit.  The story is the same for pretty much every rust belt.  It's also no coincidence that there has been a massive migration South from the rust belt states to places like North Carolina.  Lastly, it's no coincidence that Charlotte is starting to appear as having a similar voter layout to what the Rust Belt had in the 60s.  

So when people like you talk about throwing down the hammer on 'suburbanites' I have to wonder how much is about urbanism and how much is really just political.  

 

 

12 hours ago, asthasr said:

The challenges go beyond suburban development, but stem from a similar place: they took out loans that they can't repay because the city is financially unproductive.

It's loans and horrible labor contracts with massive obligations committed to but no desire to fund.  Even if urban centers were walled off and suburbs were not created, these cities would have still eventually found themselves in the same predicament.   People would have moved to another region if another location in the same region was not an option.

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"So when people like you talk about throwing down the hammer on 'suburbanites' I have to wonder how much is about urbanism and how much is really just political. "

It's about economics, and the model of directing new roads at taxpayers' expense through cheap rural land in order to build out quick-buck developments is what these beltways are about. Twice I've seen Ballantyne *install two of their key people on N.C.'s board of transportation. One was just before the first leg of I-485 was built to...... Ballantyne.

http://plancharlotte.org/display/i-485-road-shaped-charlotte-mecklenburg-growth

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3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Highways were constructed with moving people and product from region to region.  They are obviously used for other purposes and of course every action has a reaction but there was not some back room conspiracy like you suggest.  

Yea, you are probably right about that. I'll take your word over the extensive, evidenced-based analysis of these guys:

Baum-Snow, N. (2007). Did highways cause suburbanization? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(2), 775805. doi: 10.1162/qjec.122.2.775 

Duany, A., Plater-Zyberk, E., & Speck, J. (2000). Suburban nation: The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American Dream. New York, NY: North Point Press. 

Jackson, K. T. (2006). Crabgrass frontier: The suburbanization of the United States. New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press. 

3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

As for Urban growth or the opposite of it, there are many reasons why people fled to the burbs.  Not sure if you have kids but 'walkable neighborhoods' are lower on the list for parents than good schools and safe neighborhoods.  Those are just two factors. 

Good schools, saftey and walkability are not mutually exclusive neighborhood qualities -- even in Charlotte.  Unfortunately those neighborhoods are expensive. I am suggesting ways that the cost of living these types of neighborhoods could be reduced so more people can choose to live in them.

3 hours ago, cjd5050 said:

Here is the underlying truth to it all.  We live in a representative democracy and people if they are uncomfortable with their representation or the results or trajectory of their representation are free to move to a place where they are more comfortable.  From the school board to the mayor/city council elected officials make decisions that impact lives.  We have had a front row view here in Charlotte on these types of decisions.  

....

So when people like you talk about throwing down the hammer on 'suburbanites' I have to wonder how much is about urbanism and how much is really just political.  

Its only a representative democracy if voters are presented with the relevant information. How many voters know that more than half of their drive to work is being paid for by others? How many know that effective transit increases metro productivity, land values and wages in a metro? (while increased car commuting drives these down) How many people would choose to avoid the burbs if reasonably priced options were available? At the moment the majority of Americans do not have the choice of a more urban lifestyle because of the artificial manipulation of markets drives prices in the burbs down below their true costs. Based on the astronomical prices that people do pay to live in an urban environment, equilibrium economics suggests there is a huge demand for that lifestyle. The only reason why we can't make more of these places is because the burbs are artificially cheap.

'People like me' are not 'throwing down a hammer' on anybody. I just want people to understand that suburbs have huge hidden externalized costs (some of which haven't even arrived yet) and they are not living in some market-driven utopia. The burbs might feel cheap now, but it likely won't be cheap in the future (the 77 toll road being the most immediate example of this approaching wave). Other lifestyle choices only become possible once people see the long-term costs of the system they live in. 'People like you' only want to deny American's the ability to make this choice in an effort to preserve an unsustainable, unhealthy and Ponzi-like system.

Edited by kermit
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1 hour ago, kermit said:

Yea, you are probably right about that. I'll take your word over the extensive, evidenced-based analysis of these guys:

Baum-Snow, N. (2007). Did highways cause suburbanization? Quarterly Journal of Economics, 122(2), 775805. doi: 10.1162/qjec.122.2.775 

Duany, A., Plater-Zyberk, E., & Speck, J. (2000). Suburban nation: The rise of sprawl and the decline of the American Dream. New York, NY: North Point Press. 

Jackson, K. T. (2006). Crabgrass frontier: The suburbanization of the United States. New York, NY: Oxford Univ. Press. 

You made a claim that highways were designed to cause suburbanization.  That is not the same as suburbanization being a result.  There is a reason it's called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways 

 

1 hour ago, kermit said:

Good schools, saftey and walkability are not mutually exclusive neighborhood qualities -- even in Charlotte.  Unfortunately those neighborhoods are expensive. I am suggesting ways that the cost of living these types of neighborhoods could be reduced so more people can choose to live in them.

Good schools, safety and walkability can exist outside of the business center of a region.  

We both want the same thing by and large.  Smart urban living moving forward.  The difference is you want to have some sort of Huger Games esq Center City where everyone lives and you can only get to it with a single maglev rail in and out. I want to encourage urban development and urban logic in all places.  

No matter how much of a temper tantrum you throw, the suburbs are going to exist.  What you want is nothing more than a waste of time and mental gymnastics.  The only reasonable way forward is to make the most of the hand that exists. 

1 hour ago, kermit said:

Its only a representative democracy if voters are presented with the relevant information. 

No.  A representative democracy is a form of government where the people are represented by those who they elect.  Voting or intelligent voting is not a requirement.  In fact the lack of a vote is a vote in itself.  You would be much better off if you stoped making excuses for people.  

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16 minutes ago, cjd5050 said:

You made a claim that highways were designed to cause suburbanization.  That is not the same as suburbanization being a result.  There is a reason it's called the Dwight D. Eisenhower National System of Interstate and Defense Highways 

 

Good schools, safety and walkability can exist outside of the business center of a region.  

We both want the same thing by and large.  Smart urban living moving forward.  The difference is you want to have some sort of Huger Games esq Center City where everyone lives and you can only get to it with a single maglev rail in and out. I want to encourage urban development and urban logic in all places.  

No matter how much of a temper tantrum you throw, the suburbs are going to exist.  What you want is nothing more than a waste of time and mental gymnastics.  The only reasonable way forward is to make the most of the hand that exists. 

No.  A representative democracy is a form of government where the people are represented by those who they elect.  Voting or intelligent voting is not a requirement.  In fact the lack of a vote is a vote in itself.  You would be much better off if you stoped making excuses for people.  

You have completely mischaracterized my statements here.

why do you believe its a waste of time to discuss the sustainbility of the lifestyle of most Americans?

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I have pasted what I said I wanted on the previous page of this thread. Since the majority of those bullets have been successfully implemented in one or more US urban areas can you explain to me how 'what I want is nothing more than a waste of time and mental gymnastics'?

On 4/25/2017 at 10:57 PM, kermit said:

I wasn't implying the suburbs should go away, only that their subsidy encourages unsustainable urban land use patterns. Its sophmoric to say I am suggesting we turn everywhere into Manhattan or that there is no solution. The way to fix the problem is straightforward -- END THE SUBSIDIES:

  • Institute development impact fees to pay the true freight for the new schools, firetrucks, public works guys, parks, etc.
  • create a low-density 'special use district' surtax to cover the increased maintenance costs of infrastructure in low demsity neighborhoods (alternatively high-density area residents would recieve a high-density property tax rebate)
  • riase the gas tax (or institute mileage charges) to the level necessary to end subsidized driving to work, the store, etc. (yes I want to end transit subsidies as well) 
  • Eliminate all parking requirements from zoning. Institute a parking space tax for all free spots everywhere (or provide a significant tax credit to people who do not own a car). Free parking is a tax on those who do not drive thus it encourages driving, 
  • add health insurance surcharges on drivers (treat them like smokers due to driving's similar impact on public health).
  • address hosuing affordability by allowing for more granny flats, multi family and attached single family (townhouses) in infill sites by right. Address NIMBYism by lowering the property taxes of people who see their neighborhoods get more demse (it would be revenue neutral).

 

 

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Walkability, safety, and good schools are all possible in an urban environment. Look at Singapore. The common complaint against using the Nordic countries for comparison is that "they are so homogeneous!" but Singapore prints four languages on many signs.

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10 hours ago, asthasr said:

Walkability, safety, and good schools are all possible in an urban environment. Look at Singapore. The common complaint against using the Nordic countries for comparison is that "they are so homogeneous!" but Singapore prints four languages on many signs.

One of the other interesting things about Singapore is its easily the greenest city I've ever visited (literally, trees everywhere, even in the financial district). It made the city feel somewhat less dense than it really was and really softened the edges of exploring a city of its size. I'd be interested to know where their more outlying residential districts, where much of the population lives, fall on a true urbanity scale though, since they tend to still be high-rise with access to transit, but with a more suburban road and highway layout.

There are a lot of unique factors that make Singapore the way it is, from their tiny amount of developable land to their geography making them one of the world's biggest ports, but its still a great case study for some of the more creative urban solutions that have been attempted.

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12 hours ago, asthasr said:

Walkability, safety, and good schools are all possible in an urban environment. Look at Singapore. The common complaint against using the Nordic countries for comparison is that "they are so homogeneous!" but Singapore prints four languages on many signs.

Personally I don't think any comparison to nations or city states is of value.  Too many differences.  

But for a modern city...Singapore is for sure the benchmark in terms of walkability and safety.  

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19 hours ago, kermit said:

The way to fix the problem is straightforward -- END THE SUBSIDIES:

  • Institute development impact fees to pay the true freight for the new schools, firetrucks, public works guys, parks, etc.
  • create a low-density 'special use district' surtax to cover the increased maintenance costs of infrastructure in low demsity neighborhoods (alternatively high-density area residents would recieve a high-density property tax rebate)
  • riase the gas tax (or institute mileage charges) to the level necessary to end subsidized driving to work, the store, etc. (yes I want to end transit subsidies as well) 
  • Eliminate all parking requirements from zoning. Institute a parking space tax for all free spots everywhere (or provide a significant tax credit to people who do not own a car). Free parking is a tax on those who do not drive thus it encourages driving, 
  • add health insurance surcharges on drivers (treat them like smokers due to driving's similar impact on public health).
  • address hosuing affordability by allowing for more granny flats, multi family and attached single family (townhouses) in infill sites by right. Address NIMBYism by lowering the property taxes of people who see their neighborhoods get more demse (it would be revenue neutral).

 

 

Ok.  I'll play.  Let's end the subsidies....

Schools - Allow all of the money or at least 75% of it for each student to follow the student.  End the subsidies to dysfunctional school districts and schools, to corrupt teacher unions and horrible contracts 'negotiated' in back room but purchased by votes.  

Police/Fire - Go ahead and charge for police and fire but also deliver some minimum level of patrols and equal response times.  This of course means areas more in need of police and fire protection would have their coverage lowered so patrol can be equally distributed around the region...even if it means they don't do much in some.

Parks - I'll give you that new parks cost more than maintenance of existing parks so we can charge impact fees but with the condition that reasonable access to parks and green space are guaranteed to all residents.  This of course means places like Charlotte are going to need to move around park assets rather than stacking them close to Uptown near influential residents.  

Density Special Use Districts - Sure.  Put a fee on low density areas and a rebate on dense ones.  We agree on this.  We both want good urban density.  Just make sure it's 100% on density and not location. 

Raise the gas tax - Sure.  My green side can buy into this.  But speaking of Special Use Districts, there needs to be a fee charged to property owners that benefit from public investment of mass transportation that in turn raise their property values.  Say everyone within 1/2 mile of mass transit pays a fee for the benefit.  Seems fair based on your perspective on infrastructure pitch.

Eliminate all parking requirements from zoning - 100% with you here.  When you talk about a tax on free spaces you mean public spaces right?  

Add health insurance surcharges on drivers - As long as you add surcharges to people who are overweight I could get behind this.  But I'll go a step further and ban the purchase of any sort of unhealthy or processed from from SNAP.  No more soda or snack items...regardless of how much influence that lobby has purchased.   

Address housing affordability - I can get behind this.  Mostly because HOAs would prevent many cases of poor implementation.  That said, we also need to implement the right to move anyone who is in subsidized or free housing to a location that is most beneficial of the taxpayer.  If you don't own you essentially have no rights.  

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And now we find ourselves in the strange sitiation of nearly complete agreement. I guess this wasn't such a waste of time after all.

Mazel tov

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48 minutes ago, kermit said:

And now we find ourselves in the strange sitiation of nearly complete agreement. I guess this wasn't such a waste of time after all.

Mazel tov

Like I have said before, you and I agree on more things than we don't.  We may not take the same path there but we both want to get to the same place.  

 

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Got 2019 property bill in the mail yesterday and my taxes went down by $8 versus last year and that includes the small tax increase the county put through this year :)

2011 evaluation: 263k

2019 evaluation 355k

Condo in uptown zip code 

Not sure how all the math works on this calculation but boy am I surprised!

Anyone else get their bills and also got a surprise tax cut?

 

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30 minutes ago, navigator319 said:

Got 2019 property bill in the mail yesterday and my taxes went down by $8 versus last year and that includes the small tax increase the county put through this year :)

2011 evaluation: 263k

2019 evaluation 355k

Condo in uptown zip code 

Not sure how all the math works on this calculation but boy am I surprised!

Anyone else get their bills and also got a surprise tax cut?

The county cut the property tax rate due to the increase in property values. If your house gained value at a lower percentage than the county average you get a lower tax bill, if your house gained value at a percent greater than the county average you largely got a higher tax bill. Your condo only appreciated 34% from 2011 to 2019 and the county average was around 43% I believe, hence being on the winning side of the tax change. Many people were right around ~40 - 45%, hence negligible change, and then there were several neighborhood (largely near Uptown) where people had 60% - 90% increases in property value and their bills are way up. 

Edited by CLT2014
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^Congratulations!  

No cut for us -- actually a 25% increase -- but we were pleasantly surprised that the appraised value seemed reasonable this time.  Eight years ago we had to do a formal appeal because the initial assessment was insanely high.  We won, but I hated every minute of that process.   

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1 hour ago, CLT2014 said:

The county cut the property tax rate due to the increase in property values. If your house gained value at a lower percentage than the county average you get a lower tax bill, if your house gained value at a percent greater than the county average you largely got a higher tax bill. Your condo only appreciated 34% from 2011 to 2019 and the county average was around 43% I believe, hence being on the winning side of the tax change. Many people were right around ~40 - 45%, hence negligible change, and then there were several neighborhood (largely near Uptown) where people had 60% - 90% increases in property value and their bills are way up. 

The county did raise taxes this year by a tad.  They did not go with the revenue neutral rate.  Charlotte city went with the revenue neutral rate.  In both cases the mill rate went down to accommodate the higher values.

I get how it works now with who saves and who pays more so thanks for that information.  All has to do with if your increase is above or below the average huh.  So anyone below saves money and anyone above pays more. 

How is this fair?  Personally I think I should pay more then some who is undoubtedly less well off than I am, but just so happens their piece of land supposedly went up at faster rate.   Maybe I'm missing something here, but seems very regressive in nature, no?

Also thinking about this was I paying too much 2011-2018???  I paid significantly less for the condo in 2012 than the 263k tax rate.  Could I have done anything about that if knew of a process to fix?  Entitled to a refund after the fact perhaps lol

Edited by navigator319

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There is a homestead exemption for property tax for residence owned by the individual. 65 and up or disabled (definition is at tax site). Also income upper limits. My mother-in-law, bless her memory, qualified for this as the owner of her home from 1955 until 2002. Same house.

https://www.mecknc.gov/AssessorsOffice/Pages/Tax-Exclusions-Deferrals.aspx

Also the county tax office moved earlier this year to a plush, grand location at Ashley and Freedom Drive in the new (+renovated) county offices buildings. I discovered it when I went to the old site on Stonewall in August about a car payment and the kind security officer redirected me.

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1 hour ago, navigator319 said:

How is this fair?  Personally I think I should pay more then some who is undoubtedly less well off than I am, but just so happens their piece of land supposedly went up at faster rate.   Maybe I'm missing something here, but seems very regressive in nature, no?

Also thinking about this was I paying too much 2011-2018???  I paid significantly less for the condo in 2012 than the 263k tax rate.  Could I have done anything about that if knew of a process to fix?  Entitled to a refund after the fact perhaps lol

As long as the appraisal process is fair, I would not say that the property tax is very regressive, or at least not systematically regressive (like a 10% sales tax on groceries would be).  However, it totally does have the potential to hurt specific homeowners in areas where land values are rapidly increasing, and their stories can be heartbreaking.   I don't know what to do about it, except to be thankful that Mecklenburg and Charlotte do not rely exclusively on property taxes.

I don't think you need to lose sleep about your 2011-18 taxes.  After any of these appraisals -- the big scheduled ones, and the mid-cycle ones they do after significant changes have been made to a property -- there's a window of time during which one can appeal.  But I think it is just a few months, if that.  And in any case, you'd be arguing that their value as of Jan 1, 2011 was too high because a year later you paid less than that amount for the property.  I'm pretty sure that argument would not win.  That said, if you did appeal and got the appraisal amount lowered, any taxes you paid on the difference would be refunded, plus a very small amount of interest.    

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