IVGID GM’s Corner: One-third of our homes are occupied year-round | SierraSun.com

IVGID GM’s Corner: One-third of our homes are occupied year-round

Steve Pinkerton
Special to the Bonanza
Steve Pinkerton

Late October is a busy time for our recreation staff here at IVGID. Over at Golf, they are closing shop and winterizing the golf courses. At Ski, they are ramping up for what we all hope is a snowy winter. At the Recreation Center they are furiously finishing up our new data system in time for the Christmas rush.

Over at utilities, life isn’t quite as frenzied. They can now catch up on all the work they couldn’t do during the summer. Construction season is over and sewer/water flows are some of the lowest they have experienced all year.

Our utility staff can confirm that there are far less people in town in late October than in July or August. They can also tell you that every day of the year, there are a lot less people in town than there were in 1997 or 2003 or 2006 or even 2011.

Back in December, I wrote a column about the correlation between daily sewer/water flows and daily population (bit.ly/1N8jYm2).

Based on daily flows, we have a lot less population in the spring, winter and fall than we do in the summer. The analysis demonstrated that our year round population is closer to 7,000 residents — far less than the 8,930 in the 2010 census.

Back in the 1990s, our sewer flow — and population — was much larger. Our year-round population was about 10,000 residents. While there were still more people here in July than October, there wasn’t as much difference in population from month to month.

Since the article was printed, I’ve had plenty of people support my analysis while others dispute the data. Many folks claim that the drop in daily population has been far less precipitous and others claim that July is as busy now as it was 15 years ago.

Being a self-professed data geek, I’ve attempted to find other data points to either support or refute my claims. In the original article, other source data to back up the population drop included corresponding drops in Voter Registration and Average Daily Traffic Counts.

Since that time, I’ve also tracked down additional information regarding school enrollment and trash pickups.

Back in 1998, our local public schools had nearly 1,500 students. By 2010, that number had dropped to 1005. The past four years the number has stayed within a narrow range of 941-955 students.

Over the 17-year period, total enrollment has dropped 36.1 percent. During that same time, school enrollment has increased 19.7 percent district-wide. Our schools have gone from 2.8 percent to 1.5 percent of the total District enrollment.

This drop in school enrollment closely mirrors our overall drop in sewer consumption during that time. Overall sewer consumption has dropped 36.7 percent during that same period — nearly identical. Overall sewer consumption has been flat the past two years and school enrollment has been flat during that time as well.

As noted above we’ve assumed about 2,000 less residents than counted in the 2010 census. After talking to local real estate experts, we’ve concluded that most, if not all, the over-count in the census were owner occupied units. The 3,600 residents renting 1,314 units is an accurate estimate.

With 2.1 residents per owner occupied home (consistent with the census) we have about 1,570 owner occupied units. With 7,800 total residential units, that means that 20 percent of our units are owner occupied, and 17 percent are renter occupied.

One way to cross check this estimate would be via our number of utility connections. Unfortunately, over half of our units are not individually metered. The same goes for trash.

However, the limited data I have for trash pickups reinforces our estimate. In June 2014, we spent a week counting the number of homes which put out trash. Of the 3,730 houses with trash pickup, 41 percent (1,526 homes) put out trash that week.

Given that we have more part timers here in June, you would expect the number to be a bit higher than our year round population.

Thus, I feel pretty confident that barely one-third of our homes are occupied year round.

So why does this matter?

Understanding our flows are important for determining the future improvements to our water and sewer facility. Understanding the seasonality of our population is important for determining the recreation programs we offer and when we offer those programs.

It also will be important in understanding how we project the future demands for our recreation facilities and the types of facilities we should provide in the future.

“GM’s Corner” is a recurring column from Incline Village General Improvement Distinct General Manager Steve Pinkerton, who will discuss issues and offer updates regarding various district matters. He may be reached for comment at steve_pinkerton@ivgid.org.