Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Do we really need an ambitious water system?

I don't know if there is anything improper in lobbying local brewers for the new water system.

However, it does combine two things about the local scene that seem over-the-top.

I mean, beer brewing seems like a bit of a bubble to me right now. And the need for a huge new infrastructure in the water system also seems unnecessary if there is a less intrusive and costly way to tide us over.

If it turns out we have a huge influx of population, then we can build the more ambitious system later.

Meanwhile, here's a rather startling statistic gleaned from Calculated Risk that frankly questions the whole concept that we're going to get an influx of new housing any time soon:

Alejandro Lazo at the LA Times wrote today: New Home Sales Stuck at the Bottom in August.

"This year is shaping up to be the worst year on record for new home sales," [Patrick Newport, U.S. economist with IHS Global Insight] wrote in a note.
The Census Bureau started tracking New Home sales in 1963, and the record low was 412,000 in 1982 - until that record was broken in 2009 - and then again in 2010 - and it looks another new record in 2011. Here is a table of the last ten years - remember that sales in 2009 and 2010 were boosted by the tax credit.

New Home Sales
YearTotalTotal through August
1Current 2011 Pace

Think of it: 25% less than 1982 (another recession, one that hit Bend particularly hard.) What was the population back then?

I'm just saying, I think we have plenty of breathing room. No need to launch into huge infrastructure programs unless you are relying on old projections that are probably no longer valid.

And being stubborn isn't a good attribute for a city councilor. Get humble, guys. Look around.

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