Riddle me this.

In what kind of operation can the solution to a two thirds drop in demand for what is produced be to raise prices by an eye watering 70%? The answer is, with weary predictability, a government operation.

The Las Vegas Review Journal reports that building permit activity in the City of Las Vegas is but a third what it was in 2004. So, of course, city officials are proposing a 65 to 70 percent hike in fees for building permits, plan check, and inspections because the city just can’t cut its staff any further than it already has (124 to 49 in the Building and Safety Dept.) and provide “adequate services.”

Naturally this can’t possibly have any negative repercussions such as an even further reduced interest in construction or land development in the Las Vegas area, right? I mean, it’s not like people have anywhere else to go, is it?

Oh, what’s that? Las Vegas is tucked into the bottom corner of Nevada and is close enough to California and Arizona that Los Angeles and Flagstaff are only four hours or so away? And another hour will get you to San Diego or Phoenix? Oh, yeah, okay, but apart from those… sorry, what? Close to Utah as well? And what does that have to d…

From 1990 to 2000, St. George beat Las Vegas by a mere 0.6% as the fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. This trend has continued, with St. George being declared the second fastest-growing metropolitan area in the U.S. (behind Greeley, Colorado) in September 2005.[4] In 2007, the metropolitan area (defined as Washington County) had an estimated 140,908 residents.[5] The population of St. George and surrounding cities in 2050 is projected to be at more than 700,000 residents.

A couple of hours, you say? Oh.

Obviously it’s not as simple as the cost of land permits and so Vegas probably isn’t going to dwindle away into a ghost town, but when your neighbour is one of the fastest growing towns in the country and demand for planning permits in your area has dropped through the floor making the process either harder or more expensive is probably not going to fix things. On the other hand making it easier and cheaper… no guarantees but it’s not going to put anyone off, is it?

Posted on September 1, 2010, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Riddle me this..

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