The El Paso Times story won't surpise some people but others will be moved just by the title (East El Paso Sprawl: Boom Strains Services, City Coffers) as it represents admission of a problem that the building industry still flatly denies - the high cost of suburban growth to tax-funded systems like water, schools and police.
First, we don't have sprawl, Doug Schwartz, Southwest Land Development CEO
El Paso developer and chamber representatives repeat familiar homebuilder memes about growth paying for itself in sales tax and choice bits of flimsy about how the market is always right and the big picture is all net gain. But the story contains pesky specifics.
John Balliew, El Paso Water Utilities vice president of operations and technical services said "The company recovers less than a third of the full cost from developers" (...) Now if the development is outside the service area, the recovery cost can be as low as 10 percent, said Felipe Lopez, a utility engineer who administers development agreements for new subdivisions. The rest is "passed along to all the other customers," Balliew said.