It’s all in the math
The discussion about development fees goes on and on. Here is a trick that may help the readers of The Star in thinking it through:
Imagine a city with one person who has paid for her sidewalk. Now someone new moves in next door. Should the newcomer pay for her sidewalk (pay a development charge) or should the two split the costs (pay no development charge)?
Now, think about adding five people on after another with no development charge: The original resident pays for 1 + 1/2 +1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 +1/6 = 2.362025 sidewalks. Person 2 pays for 1/2 +1/3 + 1/4 + 1/5 +1/6 = 1.362025 sidewalks. The fifth newcomer pays for 1/6 of a sidewalk.
It is easy to see why developers and newcomers like having no development fees. It is easy to see why existing residents like having development charges. Council members should make sure they understand this arithmetic before they vote.
David Robinson, economist Sudbury