So What Did the Business As Usual Scenario Tell Us?

July 2, 2013 in Communications, Scenario Planning

During our 1st round of Workhops, we presented the Business As Usual Scenario.  The question the Business As Usual Scenario poses is: “What will happen over the next 27 years if Northeast Ohio just keeps doing what it has been doing?”

Our projection of “big picture” trends from 2010-2040 for Northeast Ohio show:

  • Population – Northeast Ohio will experience 2.4% growth in population across its 12 counties, which equals 3,100 net new residents in the region each year.
  • Employment – Northeast Ohio will experience 6.2% growth in employment across the 12 counties, which equals 3,600 net new jobs in the region each year.
  • Northeast Ohio’s land usagewill change:
    • 121,500 acres will be used for new parks and land conservancy.
    • 92,500 acres will be used for new development.
    • 77,100 acres of property will be abandoned.

What does the Business As Usual Scenario tell us?

  • Northeast Ohio is on pace to abandon 10.5% of its housing units by 2040.
  • This is the equivalent of 18 homes being abandoned every day for the next 27 years.
  • If just 3 out of 10 of these homes have to be demolished, it will cost the region more than half a billion dollars.
  • The abandonment of these homes will damage the fabric of the neighborhoods that contain them.
  • Having these homes standing empty will pose a public safety hazard to residents who remain and they will result in permanent loss of residents and revenue for the cities where they are located.
  • Northeast Ohio’s population will continue to spread out.
  • More people will migrate out of our central cities.
  • Newer communities will seem to be experiencing “growth,” but most of it will be fueled by regional churn – people and businesses moving from one part of the region to another.
  • For the region as a whole, growth numbers will remain flat.
  • Continuing to spread out throughout the region will come with costs.
  • Even as it is abandoning more than 10% of its homes, Northeast Ohio will need to build 3,700 miles of new road to accommodate our population’s outward migration.  3,700 miles is the same length as the Great Wall of China.
  • Of course, we will still have to bear the expense of maintaining the roads and other infrastructure we already have.
  • And the addition of these roads will introduce additional problems, like air pollution from the vehicles that use them and environmental issues caused by surface runoff when it rains.
 These additional costs will increase the strain on Northeast Ohio taxpayers.
  • We already know that Northeast Ohio is very fragmented when it comes to the government organizations responsible for maintaining our region’s quality of life.  There are more than 700 taxing entities across the region.
  • Right now, local government budgets in some parts of the region are strained; in other parts of the region they’re not.
  • Under the Business as Usual Scenario, every county in Northeast Ohio will experience declining revenue compared with its costs.
  • By 2040, on average Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties will face budget shortfalls of 20%.  Some counties will face expenses that are more than 40% greater than their revenue.
  • And in 2040 every county in the region will be doing worse than the weakest of the Northeast Ohio’s 12 counties today.  Or, to put it another way, the county with the biggest budget problem today is better off than any county in the region in 2040.
  • With budget shortfalls of this size, taxpayers in 2040, under the Business as Usual Scenario, will be faced with a choice between two bad options: pay significantly more or settle for less.

Comments are closed.