Here’s a tip about a great resource that may be disappearing.

Researching green stormwater management I found a site with lots of useful information. Apart from good information on forests, green infrastructure, ecosystem services and stormwater management, it has some interesting information on development.

We often hear that new homes means more revenue in taxes, but this isn’t true. Residential development, across the country, costs more than the tax revenue it supplies. The exception to this is healthy people with no children, which for a general population means a very young retirement community. Schools costs money, and everything that a community supplies to its residents costs money.

Now, do we need schools, yes. And we need children, and families and buses, and emergency services. All of this makes a community.

The point to take away is that the argument that residential development builds tax revenue is not always correct and has contributed to unbalanced development in communities. The exceptions to the rules are very large homes / very large properties / residents who use very little services.

In NC, Cost of Services Data has been collected by economists. The same trend appears in county after county, as it does across the United States: farmland, forests, and commercial / industrial development costs a community less. (Cost of Public Services Provided per Dollar of Revenue Contributed by Different Land Uses Reference: Mitch Renkow, NCSU)

In Chatham County, NC, just South of Chapel Hill and Durham, East of Cary and Raleigh, for ever dollar of taxes collected on forestland, the county spends 57 cents. For every dollar of taxes collected on residential land, the county spends $1.20

When we add ecosystem services ( those benefits provided to a community naturally) together with cost of service we end up with forests being a very profitable investment for a community.” (emphasis added)

Here’s the table of contents for the website:

  • Forests and Stormwater
  • Types of Forests
  • Interaction of forest types
  • Development within Forests
  • What is a Watershed?
  • What happens when it rains?
  • Why is stormwater runoff a problem?
  • Green Infrastructure
  • Benefits of Forests
  • Ecosystem Services
  • Those elusive tax revenues
  • How to move forward

I encourage you to download a copy if you find the website usefule as when I asked for permission to promote the site I was told to “please be aware that the NC NEMO project and the WECO program have since both ended. The site will be up for as long as the NCSU College of Agriculture and Life Sciences chooses to host it.”.