Carriage Trails discussion

The first reading of the 17th amendment to the Carriage Trails development occurred at the last council meeting.  There is much interest on this subject from all over the city.  If you don't have any background you can start by reading the Summary that the Assistant City manager and I worked on to document some of the financial benefits we see as a result of the development.  Read the Summary.  You can also look at the entire agenda item on the City website.  Agenda

Reading the Summary on its own makes it look like an easy decision to provide the developer whatever they ask for in supplements.  I'll temper that emotion by providing the text to an email I sent this morning when replying to one of a number of residents that contacted me about this.

When going forward it is important that the City makes informed decisions on how much to supplement the developer.  The gathering of that information is still underway.  Whether the city provides a $22,000 per lot supplement like was done when the first houses were built, a $15,000 per lot supplement like was done a couple years ago, an $8,000 per lot as asked for this amendment or no supplement should depend on what is needed to ensure we are progressing efficiently to provide all the amenities we need and many of the amenities we desire here in the City.  
Growing at the right speed and magnitude is important for the City, the Bethel School district and the Carriage Trails neighborhoods. One of the reasons we provide the supplement to this developer is because the city initially borrowed $8.5 million to build the parkway.  The seed money for the original agreement was suppose to help jump start the development so that the parkway debt could be paid.  Ten years later the city still owes $6.5 on that debt and has through the previous 16 amendments borrowed another $11 million hoping to get into a position where the original loan can be covered.  I hope you see there is a balance that needs to be achieved in order to ensure the long term success of both the City and the development.  Obviously, the city would be in much better shape to pay off the very large amount of debt we have already undertaken if the neighborhood was attractive enough that people would purchase the homes there without the discount available because of the city supplement.  But we also have to take into consideration the concerns of the developer that houses might not sell there without government assistance.  I understand there is a tight balance that will have to be achieved with the decisions going forward in order to make sure the development continues and the City remains financially viable.  The more information we gather to help us understand that balance the more likely we will be able to make sound decisions.    
Your thoughts and inputs are invaluable in this process.  I'd appreciate your looking at all you can find on this issue and providing your thoughts in the comments below.

Tom McMasters
Mayor of Huber Heights. 


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