People in Shorewood have discovered that higher density physical development seems to increase total collective value of private property in Shorewood and therefore provides an expanding base for increased revenue. 


But the increased revenue based on an expanded tax base has not changed the general upward trend of tax rates.  That means that property taxes keep increasing.

They have during the decades I’ve lived here.


Taxes increases are a result of rise in total expenses.  Two main reasons for the rise are inflation and constant maintenance of an aging infrastructure and perhaps another factor, declining subsidies.  It might be argued that the rise in spending would be more than it is if not for the expanded tax base.


There are many exceptions, but generally the larger cities have higher tax rates.  Increase in impervious surfaces as higher density and expanded development occurs for example call for higher capacity storm sewers and often their replacement to service increased need.  It is possible that higher densities may contribute to higher costs.


There are many other factors contributing to rising tax rates.  But as I’ve indicated, we are not sure that redevelopment and more intense construction are operating in a direction suppressing or reducing tax rates.  I’m not sure as to whether there have been any studies to reveal the true effects of intense development.


It seems that development policy in Shorewood has been dominated by the imagined impact of tax base and a desire to bring about increase revenue through these methods.  Perhaps some consideration should be given to possibly new perspectives.    (Let’s see if we can come up with something in our next blog.)

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