For example, one council member is whole-heartedly in support of the formation of a Housing Financing Corporation. This council member has traveled to Austin and met face to face with one of the experts this writer has referenced. Visiting a person's workplace is revealing. One can make many judgements on the professionalism of the "expert" when visiting their workplace. A visit is far more revealing than listening to the same "expert" when hearing a presentation given at a meeting. The subject council person made the admirable effort to make the visit to Austin. I am happy to report, both sides are reporting that the visit was very informative and considered successful. Both the "expert" and the council person gave high marks for the other. In this case, the "expert" gave a wealth of information on the topic of HFC's and the council person came away very impressed with the available knowledge.
On the other hand, there can be a quite different approach to deciding whether an HFC is good for the City of Rowlett. I don't want to get off in the weeds of detail here, but another council person doesn't want to decide about proceeding with the HFC determination until a whole host of other unrelated details are decided upon. These details are reported in earlier posts in this blog. This council person wants to delay all HFC votes until a determination of the future of Rowlett 2020, new zoning ordinances, the building code revamping, and some study of Rowlett's tenant/landlord codes are determined. By the time it would come around to discussion of HFC's no one would remember what it was all about.
The above are only two members of City Council. One wants practical information and facts. The other wants control.
The facts are that a Housing Finance Corporation is a FINANCING VEHICLE ONLY. It has nothing to do with Rowlett 2020, codes, zoning, or whether a landlord has to change batteries in a smoke detector before re-renting his house to another tenant. If one is going to force one housing financing program to wait on Rowlett 2020, why not others? Why not make Chase Bank, Wells Fargo, Hilltop Mortgage, or any other lending institution wait on Rowlett 2020? They loan money for residential development, also.
HFCs generate capital from the sale of tax exempt bonds, tax credits, or both. Those funds are applied toward development costs or down payment aids. The recipients of this HFC aid are Senior citizens and "workforce" populations. "Workforce" populations are policemen, firemen, small business managers, young plumbers, electricians, and new college graduates whose careers and families are just starting. Most earn between $40K and $60K a year. They are people you meet every day. They make the city work. Unfortunately, they can't afford $1400/month for an apartment or a $40K down payment for a house. Housing costs are moving upward much faster than salaries.
None of the above citizens have much interest in Rowlett 2020, codes, nor landlord relationships with tenants. They just want to raise their families in good housing. The financing aid is provided by corporate money.......not taxpayer money, other than start up money. It can be repaid by the HFC once the HFC is up and operating.
There are City Council members that are becoming engaged with the HFC proposal. There are others that seem to prefer additional bureaucracy.
Haven't we had enough of this control crap after escaping from a five year realm of the control freak we had for a City Manager from 2009 to 2014? That experience made Rowlett a reactive city, rather than a proactive city. We currently have a chance to come out of that quagmire. Now, we're in danger of returning right back to it.