New Economic Submission by FHRE
I have read the latest economic impact submission on behalf of the Fox Hill proponents. They characterized my presentation as emotional and they are right about this. I live in Camden, and will have to live with the consequences of the zoning decision. Therefore, challenging their misrepresentations is important.
What is needed is a more probable estimate of the outcome for the town Camden, not the overly optimistic vision presented by FHRE created by not distinguishing between benefits elsewhere and those in Camden.
In my professional experience, when decisions are made on such optimistic projections they always lead to disappointment and regret. This issue is too important to let this happen here. FHRE is not going to advertise the jobs available by saying “only Camden residents need apply”. They cannot guarantee that all FHRE employees will come from Camden and spend all their money in Camden . Yet, the size of the benefit they claim for Camden depends on just that.
If FHRE had been addressing a city the size of Portland, where most of the benefits could still occur within the city, their projections would be more credible. Camden is a small town, so a large portion of the predicted economic benefit will most likely occur outside of Camden.
Economic impacts to neighboring towns is important, but should not be given the same weight in making this decision as the impacts to Camden since other towns do not have to bear the consequences of spot zoning in Camden. We are not considering a zoning change in neighboring towns. We are considering a zoning change that will affect Camden alone.
So, I did what FHRE should have done, attempt to get a reasonable, objective estimate of what portion of the predicted benefits apply to Camden proper. To accomplish this, I relied on:
- The published economic study of the local Rockland- Camden area
- Published results of national surveys of actual household spending, and
- FHRE’s presentation data showing that only 1 in 5 Camden employees working in Camden actually live in Camden. There is no reason to expect employees of Fox Hill would be any different.
- And I removed the inappropriate use of one-time spending is estimating the repeated annual benefit
I stand by my conclusion that the results presented by FHRE greatly exaggerate the benefits to Camden, and if you review the details of my prior submission, I believe you will agree with me.