Brief background and what I think is a no-brainer question, but thought I'd throw it out here.
The area I live in is unincorporated county land serviced by water from wells. Due to septic tanks and all the agricultural fertilizers, nitrates from these products have seeped into the water supply. Nothing harmful and within state guidelines but cautions for infants and pregnant women.
Recently the state announced that they would be tightening the water quality requirements, which would require that our water be treated to meet the new standards.
The nearest major city quickly bought up the water utility, and extended to the 4000 or so residents a couple of plans. First was treatment of the existing water at about an $8k cost per home, plus additional regular costs. Second was hooking us up to the cities clean water supply at a cost of about $5k, but this includes a new water meter and a metered bill that should average about $30 a month. Previously our water bills were unlimited $17 a month. Unfortunately the cheaper option mandates that we are annexed by the city and become part of the city proper. I dont know where they get the $8k number, I can install a whole house water conditioning system for a fourth to half that amount. Must be govt overhead.
In other words, it was a well timed land grab that will pay off nicely for the city...we pay for the water conversion in total, start paying them higher bills, and they get our property taxes from here on out. I'm uncertain about what other real benefits this entails.
As for me, I've just been filling up 5 gallon jugs of water at a friends house a few miles away that is in a clean water area and dropping those into a water cooler. Free. But since the state cant account for morons who drink the 'bad' water, its a requisite that every home see every drop of tap water within guidelines.
Ok, so not so brief, what do you expect?
The question is, I can pay the assessment as a $4742 one time lump sum, or about $314 a year for 20 years. Clearly paying it off up front saves about $1500 and makes the property marginally more attractive to a future buyer because it doesnt have the assessment.
My take is that since statistically I'll move within 7 years, I can avoid half the payments by taking the annual assessment, and further could make more money investing the proceeds myself, plus the extra buyer incentive is probably a red herring, I doubt anyone would buy my house over another or be more likely to buy mine based on this.
Its not all bad though, I got the house for $13k under market value due to this little "problem"...
There is also a little 'conspiracy theory' around this...the work to hook us up to the city water isnt supposed to happen until after the annexation takes place, and if everything goes to plan its complete in october of this year. But while the annexation hasnt been agreed to, I tested my water last week and the nitrates were half their former level, and testing today showed zero. So either they already hooked us up and it was pretty easy and they're sure of the annexation, or maybe the water supply just magically cleaned itself up...