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Sunday, August 5, 2018

Consider Economic Projections:

While visual reminders each day keep the Spring Fire and its destruction in our mind and can be depressing there are other considerations to evaluate. Current and future economic considerations.

This wildfire destroyed about half the property in our community. There are 3,364 parcels and half would be 1,682. Not all those are developed and 134 homes were destroyed. Most people can figure out that it will be decades before their property will show any semblance  of what it was. Likely unless they are very young they will not see it within their lifetime. Thus far their investment is from $3,500.00 to $7,500.00, and they now have a destroyed piece of property that will not be what they hoped for. They face the prospect of future property taxes and association dues on something that is greatly diminished in value.

So what do they do?  Some will pay taxes and dues and hold the property for their grandchildren to enjoy in the future. Others will most likely cut their losses and walk away knowing that they can't recover their investment. Any investment opportunity will definitely be long range. If half those owners walk away the loss of dues and taxes will be impressive, not to consider the costs of either the association or county recovering the land by foreclosure.

This wildfire will impact us all, some directly as it has already done and others indirectly. Mostly people are now deciding whether to rebuild on a devastated piece of property or to cut their losses as best they can. If they rebuild they will be surrounded by this devastation for many years to come. The association and county are obvious losers since they have the same obligations but do not have the same revenue base to pay for the obligations. Roads to maintain, equipment to maintain and fuel, salaries to pay, insurance costs and buildings to maintain.

But what about local businesses and merchants?  They will have less customers as those whose homes were destroyed will be relocated which will translate less profit. By the time the community is restored they will have indirect losses. Operating on a low margin of profit can put some businesses out of business with the loss of customer base. Businesses look ahead to growth not backward at less customer base.

So everyone in the community and area is going to be impacted by this wildfire. We can either stay in a depressed state or pull together to build our community back and make it better in the process. One way is to support local business where ever and when ever possible. Another way is to encourage those who lost their property to rebuild. The climate is the same - it is just the landscape that changed. Some of the deed restrictions no longer apply due to the devastation. Make it more desirable to build back and that will depend on the association and the county. Formulating new strict and restrictive rules is counter productive. Relax the rules and help people - don't hinder people because in the long run it will be the association, county and those whose homes were not destroyed that will indirectly pay the price.

It just seems like simple economics to me.....

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