In the spirit of Denver’s ongoing East Central and East Area neighborhood plans, we’re hoping to illustrate what Denver’s high level tax priorities towards suburban concrete and asphalt look like in real life?
As many of our readers already know, Denver, like most american cities openly embraced a growth “ponzi scheme” following world war II which allowed cities to grow fast and wide. Unfortunately, along the way we forgot to ask whether this new development was able to pay for the ongoing infrastructure maintenance to service these miles of roads, sidewalks, sewer systems, stormwater systems, schools, fire & police departments, and lots and lots of free storage spaces for private vehicles on public property. Unfortunately, the property tax paid by Denver’s suburban property owner’s rarely pays the bill for accessing, maintaining, and servicing their infrastructurally inefficient properties, and Denver looks like this when it comes to paying the infrastructure bill with property tax:
This typically gets more exacerbated the further from downtown that we get:
What does this actually look like on the street though? Understanding that annual infrastructure maintenance costs $1.06/sq. ft. of land in Denver, here is a financial break down with Denver’s median single family home, duplex, 4-plex, and rowhome:
Denver is a very fortunate city in that it has plenty of sales tax, and lodging tax to make up the difference, but it isn’t very equitable, and not very financially resilient in the case that Denver experiences any future recessions or drawbacks in sales tax. Let’s be conscious of what were building and the long term liabilities of the development Denver promotes through its zoning and tax systems.