Things have been strangely quiet about Bayside. I watched a film clip of the City Council meeting of December 16. In that film clip, a consultant to the city was explaining two disbursements totaling $3 million toward the development of Crystal Lagoon. Well, that kinda got my attention, since the owners/developers have announced they aren't going to build it. Being in the development finance business, I decided to ask some questions of our leaders. You know, the ones elected to manage the city in our behalf.
In an email, I have posed these questions to the Mayor and City Council. They are not intended to be cute or self serving. They are good, serious, legitimate questions regarding the current issues surrounding Bayside development. The below link might work. If not, go to the city website and open Meetings and Agendas for December 18 (or click on link below). Pull down the packet and open Para. 8A. Its about Bayside.
Go to 8A below:
Below are the questions the film clip generated. I sent the questions to the entire City Council.
1. Who "makes up" Bayside Land Partners?" Who are they? Is the City of Rowlett one of the partners?
2. I presume there is an agreement between Bayside Land Partners and Crystal Lagoon. Who signed the presumed agreement on behalf of Bayside Land Partners?
3. A bond is a promise to pay. The City of Rowlett sold $36+ million in PID bonds. At least some of this bond revenue, perhaps all, was presumably "transferred" to land owners, to be used for the intended purpose. How did the city transfer this money to land owners and yet extinguish the city's promise to pay? Only then could the city not be responsible to bond holders. If the obligation is not extinguished, the city is still considerably more involved than "nothing." If the bond owners purchased bonds with potentially only the land owners as promissory obligators, it would be credit support stupidity. I don't see many bond purchasers make that mistake.
It is my understanding, from viewing the film clip from the City Council meeting, December 18, that some payment over $1 million went to Crystal Lagoon and another payment, bringing the total of the two payees to $3 million, went to the developers. What did we get from Crystal Lagoon, and what did we get from the land owners/developers? Are we paying for Crystal Lagoon construction efforts? Are there any invoices submitted evidencing documentation for payment? Who approved payment? The "consultant" wasn't clear on the subject. Who hired the "consultant"? If I had submitted a report to any of my bank clients like that, I would have been fired a long time ago.
You say the city's responsibility is to "administer assessments." What does that mean? Does the city approve all disbursements from the PID "account"? Who in the city approves these PID fund disbursements, if any?
Did we just give $36 million + in PID funding to some entity without any oversight or control? Is anyone from the city watching the store? If that's the consultants job, I would sure like to see their resume. I hope they don't do any bank work. Or, if they do, I would like to know which banks. I won't put any of my hard earned money in them.
I still stand behind Council on their decision to remain rigid on demands of the Bayside landowners.
I have received some answers. However, only from the Mayor, Tammy Dana-Bashion. The mayor says the city has no obligation for the bond debt. Apparently, the rest of City Council had no knowledge. Perhaps they didn't understand the questions. The mayor did supply some answers, but the response also created new questions. I am developing them, now.
The State of Texas has very strict rules about "transparency" for the citizens. In other words, we citizens are supposed to be kept informed on what our elected leaders are doing. In some cases, legalities allow special "closed door" meetings, but these meetings are not intended to withhold legitimate information from citizens.
Now, the citizen's tax dollars, via a rather circular route thru something called a PID, has pledged certain allocated tax revenue to retire some $36 million in bond revenue (debt incurred), as sold by the PID. The City Council meeting documented the disbursement of $3 million of that money in the face of learning the developers were not going to build the lagoon.
I don't think you have to be real smart to think up some questions. I want to know what the hell is going on. I don't want to learn about it after an irreversible action has been taken, without an escape hatch. That is especially true if our elected council members aren't in on the discussion. If six City Council members aren't working on our behalf, what the hell do we need them for? I can rent the city 6 cats for a modest fee to keep the seats warm.
Hang in there with me. I'm gonna do some more research. I think I'm (we're) being flim flammed........and I don't like it. And I want to know why no other Council members have no (zero, nada, zilch) opinions. Is this too much for them? Stay tuned.