I am beginning to develop a slow burn. The more I research the "380 Grant" program, the angrier I am getting. Below is Texas Title 12, Subtitle "A" of the local government code. It's not very long. The italics and underscoring are mine. Please read, then read my notes at the end. This is a most important "post." I admit that I have been uninformed about 380 Grants, but I am becoming informed. If you reach the same conclusion as I seem to be heading toward at this time, you are going to be very angry. If you find me to be in error, I would hope that you would let me know, and that I believe you.
LOCAL GOVERNMENT CODE
SUBTITLE A. MUNICIPAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
CHAPTER 380. MISCELLANEOUS PROVISIONS RELATING TO MUNICIPAL PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT
Sec. 380.001. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT PROGRAMS. (a) The governing body of a municipality may establish and provide for the administration of one or more programs, including programs for making loans and grants of public money and providing personnel and services of the municipality, to promote state or local economic development and to stimulate business and commercial activity in the municipality. For purposes of this subsection, a municipality includes an area that:
(1) has been annexed by the municipality for limited purposes; or
(2) is in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of the municipality.
(b) The governing body may:
(1) administer a program by the use of municipal personnel;
(2) contract with the federal government, the state, a political subdivision of the state, a nonprofit organization, or any other entity for the administration of a program; and
(3) accept contributions, gifts, or other resources to develop and administer a program.
(c) Any city along the Texas-Mexico border with a population of more than 500,000 may establish not-for-profit corporations and cooperative associations for the purpose of creating and developing an intermodal transportation hub to stimulate economic development. Such intermodal hub may also function as an international intermodal transportation center and may be colocated with or near local, state, or federal facilities and facilities of Mexico in order to fulfill its purpose.
Added by Acts 1989, 71st Leg., ch. 555, Sec. 1, eff. June 14, 1989. Amended by Acts 1999, 76th Leg., ch. 593, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 1999.
Acts 2005, 79th Leg., Ch. 57 (H.B. 918), Sec. 1, eff. May 17, 2005.
Sec. 380.002. ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT GRANTS BY CERTAIN MUNICIPALITIES. (a) A home-rule municipality with a population of more than 100,000 may create programs for the grant of public money to any organization exempt from taxation under Section 501(a) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 as an organization described in Section 501(c)(3) of that code for the public purposes of development and diversification of the economy of the state, elimination of unemployment or underemployment in the state, and development or expansion of commerce in the state. The grants must be in furtherance of those public purposes and shall be used by the recipient as determined by the recipient's governing board for programs found by the municipality to be in furtherance of this section and under conditions prescribed by the municipality.
(b) A home-rule municipality may, under a contract with a development corporation created by the municipality under the Development Corporation Act (Subtitle C1, Title 12), grant public money to the corporation. The development corporation shall use the grant money for the development and diversification of the economy of the state, elimination of unemployment or underemployment in the state, and development and expansion of commerce in the state.
(c) The funds granted by the municipality under this section shall be derived from any source lawfully available to the municipality under its charter or other law, other than from the proceeds of bonds or other obligations of the municipality payable from ad valorem taxes.
Added by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., ch. 16, Sec. 13.06(a), eff. Aug. 26, 1991. Amended by Acts 1991, 72nd Leg., 1st C.S., ch. 4, Sec. 25.02, eff. Aug. 22, 1991; Acts 2001, 77th Leg., ch. 56, Sec. 1, eff. Sept. 1, 2001.
Acts 2007, 80th Leg., R.S., Ch. 885 (H.B. 2278), Sec. 3.26, eff. April 1, 2009.
Sec. 380.003. APPLICATION FOR MATCHING FUNDS FROM FEDERAL GOVERNMENT. A municipality may, as an agency of the state, provide matching funds for a federal program that requires local matching funds from a state agency to the extent state agencies that are eligible decline to participate or do not fully participate in the program.
Added by Acts 1995, 74th Leg., ch. 1051, Sec. 1, eff. June 17, 1995.
The first thing that comes to mind above is that there is no mention of Federal or State funds. However, apparently the 380 Grants can accept contributions. That is different to anything I ever knew. Secondly, only municipalities are mentioned as a government contracting party.......not the state or the feds. However, at the end, there is a provision of "matching funds" if a state declined to act. I have no idea what happens here, however it sure sounds like only half the money would become available.
I am of the opinion that the staff, the staff report, and the verbal presentations made to City Council on the evening of May 20, 2014, and regarding The Villages of Rowlett, were somewhat less than straight forward to the citizens of Rowlett. I am not suggesting anything criminal, but I am suggesting certain facts were de-emphasized to keep the citizens of Rowlett of learning the true cost of subsidizing the developer proposed for this venture. It is my opinion the citizens of Rowlett would have never supported a subsidy program in which the city's cost would be $10-$12 million. That number consists of the gift of the library, forgiveness of impact fees, reimbursement of infrastructure repairs, and 15 years of tax rebates. That is fully a third of the $30 million total cost of project.
It is my intention to go over every line spoken and written about this project. I will do additional research on 380 Grants to learn more. I will use Freedom of Information Act requests to get into the back room of city hall. I am beginning to get angry.
On the other hand, if Rowlett "officialdom" will step forward and explain satisfactorily what on earth the real costs are, that would shut me up. However, now I wonder why the new consultant from Denver and a developer form Atlanta materialized. As you may, or may not know, Rowlett sets amongst some of the best apartment developers in the world. Our (DFW) market research representation is pretty good, too. Texas developers are represented all over the world.
As I have written before, I would like to see this project go into downtown. I wish we could get more business ventures at this time, but look around.......we can't even fill the office/retail space we currently have. However, if we put 400 people downtown, we may awake some lethargic thought processes.
BUT.......as much as I would like to see this deal go thru, Rowlett's "officialdom" must tell us the truth. If anybody, ANYBODY, will step up and explain how 380 Grants works and how Rowlett doesn't have a $10 million downside risk, I will shut up. Happily.
Plano gave up $7.5 million and 10 years of tax abatement. But, they got Toyota and 4,000 jobs. We seem to have aimed a bit lower.