by Locker Room contributor
It turns out that there is a reverse story to the traditional “we need to annex/build projects because they will add economic development and tax revenue” story. According to The News & Observer, a church just doesn’t cut it when it comes to economic development. Hephzibah Baptist Church wants to be annexed into the town of Wendell, but the town has avoided the church because they believe it would cost too much:
The town has been reluctant to annex the property for financial reasons. Town Manager Tim Burgess said the church, which is exempt from property taxes, would not bring in new revenue, but it would increase costs for police protection.
Once in town, the church would see its water and sewer bills cut in half (because it is paying the town more now because it is outside Wendell’s jurisdiction).
A financial analysis by the town staff revealed that adding the church to its property rolls would cost Wendell about $3,300 annually — a small but still noteworthy amount in a town with a total budget of just $3 million, the second smallest in Wake County.
Based on the study, Burgess said he will recommend that the town board of commissioners annex Hephzibah Baptist. But he’s also proposing a new policy that would require a similar financial analysis before annexing tax-exempt properties, such as churches or schools.
“Our concern is that we not overburden our resources,” he said.
Edgell said he thinks the analysis is simplistic.
“If we have 700 people here on Sunday morning, they’re going to to eat lunch and buy gas somewhere,” he said. “If we have a conference, people are going to go toward Wendell to do business. We feel there’s still a positive economic impact to the town.”
Gee, where are these responsible financial analyses when it comes to building sports arenas? Why do costs for services get thrown out the window when a politician wants to build a convention center?