Tom Butt
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  Point Molate Fiscal Impact Analysis Shows Positive Impact on General Fund
July 7, 2020

The “Save Point Molate” advocates have been claiming for months that the SunCal development plan will cost the residents of Richmond more than the revenue the project generates. This allegation was based on a biased analysis commissioned by the Sierra Club in 2018 by Hatch Ltd.

The long awaited and more credible Richmond Point Molate Fiscal and Economic Impact Analysis is now available. It was prepared by Economic & Planning Systems (EPS) for Winehaven and peer reviewed by BAE Urban Economics.

About the Hatch Report, BAE wrote:

In 2019 the Sierra Club commissioned Hatch Ltd. To prepare a fiscal analysis of 1,200 for-sale homes at Point Molate… Hatch concludes that the Project would generate less taxes than the new General Fund expenditures required to serve the site, which fundamentally differs from the Winehaven FIA finding.

BAE reviewed the Hatch Fiscal Impact Analysis (FIA) and has found that, overall, the analysis is deficient and does not accurately estimate the fiscal impact of the project. The following observations support this finding:

  • As the value was not known at the time, Hatch does not evaluate the benefit to the City of the land sales proceeds and transfer taxes from land sales to Winehaven and subsequent developers.
  • The assumed average home prices between $600,000 and $900,000 are likely significantly lower than the prices that will ultimately be realized by the Project, which underestimates the property taxes received.
  • The analysis omits potential sales tax revenues for new residents and the Pension Override ad valorem property tax as General Fund revenue sources.
  • The Hatch FIA uses a simple average cost approach to estimating General Fund expenditures, which likely overstates costs for service categories that have a high proportion of fixed costs.

Like Trump, the Save Point Molate advocates have been making up and circulating alternative facts that do not hold up to scrutiny.