To be fair, Councilor Cadigan has been generally good on budget issues. However, he's completely blind when it comes to the trickle-down effect caused by his penchant for regulation. Let's take for example the requirement for city residents to use 90% efficient furnaces when replacing their old furnaces.
Scott Ruch, whose firm has installed furnaces for years, said the 90 percent models typically cost $400 to $900 more than the standard less-efficient furnace.Let's say that gas used by your furnace in winter months is equivalent to $120 of your overall gas bill. It would take over 33 winter months for you to recapture the additional cost of your furnace imposed by the city. If you use your furnace for 4 months out of the year and you are lucky to purchase a furnace that only costs $400 more than the 80% efficiency models, that's over 8 years in operation.
One person who contacted the Journal said the cost would be several thousand dollars more for installation
Councilor Cadigan is currently sponsoring an ordinance requiring the city to replace all of their porcelain thrones with low flow toilets by the end of the year.
Cadigan said he was open to giving the city more time to complete the transition. But he said it was important to pass the bill because residents will have to make a similar move.In principle the councilor is correct. The city really should have begun their transition to low flow before forcing the rest of us to do so. However like the ordinance that goes into full flush in 2010 requiring home owners to replace their toilets before selling their property, we're paying for the change using tax dollars that are in short supply down at city hall. A common sense approach would be to replace the fixtures as they require replacement. But of course, it's hard to generate headlines for common sense.
An ordinance set to take full effect in 2010 will require private residents to change out their toilets before selling their property.
"It's not right to ask residents to do it until we do it," Cadigan said.
Impact fees are another way that Councilor Cadigan has worked against the fiscal interests of Albuquerque residents. Impact Fees were instituted as a way to cut down on eeevil sprawl. The idea was to charge more money for housing in areas that aren't a part of the urban center.
Unfortunately even before the housing bubble burst, the number of building permits issued for home construction dropped significantly as builders simply chose to build outside the council's jurisdiction.
Builders understand that there's only so much that they can charge for a product. The additional $10,000 added by Cadigan's Impact Fees and a whole litany of city requirements made their houses too expensive and/or not profitable to build. The result was that sprawl increased and home prices rose (which of course required that we make housing more affordable by using your tax dollars subsidize housing for people who can't afford to buy a house... but we digress).
Folks, understand that these types of mandates cost you money. It doesn't matter whether or not they require the city to spend your money or you to spend your money... it's your money that's at stake and it's your money that you end up with less of.
If Councilor Cadigan wants to run on fiscal responsibility, he should start by reigning in his own tendency to over regulate. Make no mistake, unfunded mandates and ridiculous regulation cost you money - it's only a matter of whether the government takes it through taxes or forces you to spend it directly out of your own pocket.