Monday, August 6, 2012

Countdown To CAOmageddon: Flaw #4 - Population Estimate

Flaw #2 discussed scoping, and it provided citations related to the CAO review process (and it is a "review" process, not an "update" process). Let's look at the requirements for that review a bit more closely. RCW 36.70a.130(1)(c) says:
The review and evaluation required by this subsection shall include, but is not limited to, consideration of critical area ordinances and, if planning under RCW 36.70A.040, an analysis of the population allocated to a city or county from the most recent ten-year population forecast by the office of financial management.
The population forecast currently in use by our County can be found here. It is out of date. It is not the most recent population forecast by the Office of Financial Management (OFM). OFM came out with a new forecast in the first half of this year. It has been ignored by our County.

How different is the most recent forecast from the current one used by the County? Way different. To give you an idea, the current County forecast predicted we would have 17,316 people in the County by 2010. We actually had 15,769, about 9% below the forecast. The new forecast says that we won't reach a population of 17,316 until around 2040. Thirty years difference!

The new OFM figures even include the prospect of a serious population decline in the County. The OFM "low" population forecast posits a 19% population decline by 2040. If our population does decline, it wouldn't be the first time that happened here. Fewer people lived here in 1960 than 1920, and our population didn't begin growing steadily again until about 1970.

Our current CAO "review" is using a population forecast that is 30 years off from the most recent forecast from OFM.


  1. With the direction the County Council is leading us, at the behest of the Community Development and Planning Department and the State Department of Ecology, I expect the population of working families on the island will drop over the next 20 years. Which is probably the goal.

    Martha's Vineyard is lovely this time of year. Soon we too will be that fashionable!

  2. This is a train wreck. The only question is this, if the conductor of the train survives the crash, will we let her drive the next train, or will we demand a new conductor???

    Start making your voices heard now.


  3. The population projection tool has been used very effectively to screw the process. We have seen willfully deceptive projections in Whatcom county for the last 10 years. The public doesn't appreciate how destructive bad projections are. The deconstructionist has seen if they put out low projections they can use this to completely control the Realestate development market by doing case by case highly subjectiive process. Thus raising costs and uncertainty ( directly opposite of two gma goals) . The GMA is a complete failure - repeal it