Reports point to a healthy local economy

Two different reports entered into the minutes of the August 16 District Council meeting gave a quick snap shot into the economic health of Lake Country.

Two different reports entered into the minutes of the August 16 District Council meeting gave a quick snap shot into the economic health of Lake Country.  The monthly building report detailed housing permit starts year to date and year over year.  The 2011 Tax Collections report lets Lake Country residents know how many of their neighbors have chosen to be late in sending in their checks and how many have requested a tax deferral.

The building permits report ends its year to date tally July 31.  Since this pushes well into the summer building season and delivers more than half a year of data, it is interesting to note that year over year (2011/2010), residential and commercial building permits in the District are substantially down.

For the month of July 2011 four single family dwelling permits were issued valued at $931,190 compared to July 2010 when 7 permits valued at $2,719,055 were issued. Year to date numbers follow a similar trend: 2011 has 46 single families with a value of $11,020,625 a substantial drop from 2010 when 59 permits valued at $16,516,937 were recorded.

While permits are way down in the raw total of the number awarded and in the value, Stephen Banmen Chief Financial Officer with the District cites several reasons not to be concerned.  2010 was a big year for building in Lake Country compared to 2009 and when compared to other local jurisdictions. “2010 wasn’t a slow year for us,” says Banmen.

The right things are happening in the development marketplace and are pointing to a busy fall 2011 and 2012 remarks Banmen, “A lot of tires are being kicked right now, at lot of developers are taking a close look at moving forward.  Lake Country is well situated, we have a good location.”

Developers with projects on the go include The Lakes and Lakestone as well as smaller builders.

The second report to council was the Tax Collections report. The District assessed a total of $137,000 in penalties against 733 folios/properties. Net of tax deferments there is $1,339,376 in taxes outstanding at the time the report was filed which translates to 92.9 percent of taxes collected.  That rate is up by a percentage point over 2010 but down from the historic collection rate of about 94 percent.

Mayor Baker says it isn’t a reflection on the economy but on lifestyle, especially for some of the wealthier lake shore properties. “Some people are not around and the penalties on their tax bill do not seem to concern them.  But we always get paid, Lake Country has never had a property go to a tax sale.”