gmhTODAY 20 gmhToday June July 2018 - Page 32

Growth… Glen Loma Project East Side of Santa Theresa Boulevard, Gilroy the haunting issue facing the South Santa Clara Valley It's Complicated, Very, Very Complicated Written By Larry J. Mickartz F or growth to happen, a number of things need to line up. The driving force for growth is the desirability of the location. Growth happens in places where there is a perceived value. That value or desirability might be that a community has a strong sense of community and involvement or has been designated as a good place to raise kids and has a good school district. Other desirability factors include lots of open space, parks, greenbelts, cleaner air and/or less traffic and congestion. A community’s sense of identity may be a factor, or its lower cost of housing and the availability of single family homes. Vibrant downtowns such as Morgan Hill’s are also considered a valuable component in making people want to live in a community. All in all, it is clear that the South Santa Clara Valley pos- sesses many desirable components and 32 is a place where people want to live. The population growth proves that. The one downside is that most would-be residents want single family homes. Consequently, the proportion of single family homes versus rentals and attached or multi- family homes is much higher than in northern Santa Clara County and the state of California. In 2013, Morgan Hill had 65.5 percent single family homes; Santa Clara County had 53.4 percent and the State had 57.9 percent. The history of growth in South County over the past 60+ years reveals a few interesting points. According to the U.S. Census, the population of Morgan Hill in 1950 was 1,627 and Gilroy was 4,951. By the 1970s, the San Jose area experienced the growth of companies like IBM and Intel thereby pushing growth down the valley. Morgan Hill and Gilroy started to experience phenomenal GILROY • MORGAN HILL • SAN MARTIN JUNE/JULY 2018 growth. Between 1970 and 1980 Morgan Hill grew by 163 percent and Gilroy by 71 percent. Another piece of the growth puzzle is that while local city governments are the most responsible for growth decisions, not much of the income from property or sales taxes derived from that growth is realized on a local level. Actually, only about ten percent of property taxes come back to local cities and only one percent of the nine percent sales tax comes back to the City, or 11.1 percent of the total sales taxes collected. Gilroy's and Morgan Hill’s tax rates are currently at 9 percent. Put simply, a million dollars in retail sales generates less than $10,000 each to the cities of Morgan Hill and Gilroy. It should be noted that residential development in itself does not gener- ate enough in taxes to sustain city ser- vices. Residential development pays for