How Sprawl Has Come Back To Bite Exurban Taxpayers In The Pocketbook
Howell Township borrowed money for water and sewer lines several years ago when the economy was booming and officials expected the investment would be paid back with additional property taxes and utility fees.
Then the economy collapsed, and the rest is well-documented history, according to Peggy Walsk-Sarnecki in the Fre Press: The developers never built the houses and there was no additional revenue.
Similar stories are playing out in many other southeastern Michigan communities that went through the building boom and bust. Many communities put in roads, sewers or water lines during the housing boom as a way to attract development.
Today, those infrastructure loans still have to be paid and, in some cases, cash-strapped communities are passing those costs back to taxpayers.