City of West Concord

A Proud Heritage, A Bright Future

3rd Community Survey Results


This is the third article on the results of the Community Survey completed in November 2006.  If you missed the first two articles, they can be seen on the West Concord web site, www.westconcordmn.com, under the EDA/Community Survey.

Some of the comments on the Community Survey related to the number of homes for sale in West Concord. There does seem to be several homes for sale at this time.  There usually are some homes for sale at any time.  These usually are not the same homes all the time.  Right now there is a slump in home sales across the United States, but many believe this is temporary and will last only a short time.  We need to be ready when the time comes to have building lots available.

When the EDA was discussing a new housing development with the Southeast Minnesota Multi-County Housing and Redevelopment Authority, they required the EDA to do a Housing Study.  This Housing Study was done in February 2005 by an independent research organization. Their study pointed out the number of older homes in West Concord area.  Of 698 homes, in and around West Concord, 363 were built before 1939, or 46.8%.  The next best time period for houses to have been built was 1970 to 1979 when 120 homes were built, or 15.5% of the houses included in the study.  The median year for all houses built would be 1948.  Many younger families do not want to live in older homes.  They want NEW. If we want to grow we have to be ready to have places where young families can build. As was mentioned in the last article,  when we identified 20 vacant lots in town, only two owners said they would sell, and one other has just recently put his lot up for sale.

The housing study, (completed in February 2005), found that in the last ten (10) years West Concord averaged three (3) new homes built per year, with some years there being no new housing built.  The study group felt that with some marketing West Concord could easily gain three (3) or more new homes a year.

In the Survey we asked "If residential lots were available, I would consider building a new house in West Concord", True, False, Unsure. Fifteen of the one hundred that responded said they would consider building a new home in West Concord.  This is a good sign.

Several comments were made about the need to reduce the water and sewer rates, and to lower taxes.  Bringing in more homes will increase the utilization of the water system and reduce the total cost because right now West Concord has a lot of fixed costs in the new well and new well house that needs to be paid for.  Sewer fees are currently tied to water fees,  since we cannot measure, based upon individual home usage, the amount of sewage each house generates.  The best estimate of waste is the amount of water usage.  The sewage rate is used to pay for the Waste Water Treatment Plant.  The Environmental Protection Agency said we needed to re-do the Waste Water Treatment Plant because of the untreated output of the plant.  As the City of West Concord re-did the plant it increased the size so that up to approximately 1130 people could be served by the plant.  This will allow some growth.  Additional homes sharing the cost of this plant will reduce the current costs to those currently paying for the use of the plant.

Again, several comments were made about our current tax level.  With Industrial Development there could be little or no new tax money for the city because an industry or commercial establishment will want TAX INCREMENT FINANCING to come to town.  This would delay any new tax money from five (5) to fifteen (15) years.  Housing can be immediately revenue producing.  The exception would be if a developer came in with the idea of building "AFFORDABLE HOUSING".  He could then request and expect to get TAX INCREMENT FINANCING for up to twenty (20) years. If the developer did not get the tax increment financing he would more than likely go to another community where he would be given this benefit. If you look around us you will see that other communities are making an effort to grow.

Some people commented that something should have been done twenty (20) to forty (40) years ago.  This is probably true, but we can't wait another twenty (20) years to get something started.  Let's work together to make West Concord stronger and more viable. 

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