Sunday, October 14, 2012

ZAP! #102: Slum Landlord

ZAP! #102

Irving City Council agenda item for Thursday, October 18, 2012
18 Resolution -- Authorizing the Acquisition and Renovation of a Property at 618 N. Rogers

     Doesn’t the above sound as if the city is really stepping up to do something nice for a neighborhood?  Who doesn’t approve of the city attempting to make unsightly sights sightly?  Wouldn’t you want the city to assist you in this type of endeavor in your area of town?

     The staff of the CCR hates to be the one to burst your balloon, but if the city council approves the above item as submitted by the city manager, then citizens are just one step closer to having a council and city manager completely out of control...again.

     What the above agenda item does not tell you is that approval will put the city in the apartment rental business!  We’ll say that again...the apartment rental business.

     Hidden within this agenda item are these facts: the city is planning to purchase property for a total outlay of $850,000 at 618 N. Rogers Road; this will be for an eleven (11) unit apartment building; the city will rehab the facility; and the city will manage the facility (read: play landlord).  For those conservative-wondering minds, the city staff ‘anticipates’ that this proposed boondoggle will generate around $25,000 in revenue per year.  Wow, doesn’t that alone make you feel better about the city being in the apartment rental business?

     Before discussing any additional concerns about this agenda item, staff of the CCR would like to go on the record to state our unvarnished opinion...THE CITY DOES NOT NEED TO BE IN THE APARTMENT RENTAL BUSINESS!  EVEN IF THE FUNDS ARE GRANT RELATED.  PERIOD.

     Was that clear enough to understand?  Do you have any question regarding our position on this issue?

     Look at the math.  $850,000 /11 = $77,000+ per apartment unit cost.  Not too many apartments are currently being built in Irving with cost this astronomical.  But then, most developers do not have citizen tax payers to bleed for their capital.

     Here are some additional cute facts concerning the city buying an apartment complex and then managing the project.  The council will spend $850,000 on this folly with $265,000 included and necessary to buy enough lipstick to make this pig of an idea look better.  One should also wonder why the taxable value of the property went from $282,980 in 2011 to $525,000 in 2012.  This property is not in the Heritage District or part of the McDougalville fiasco the council has already lost money on.  How much did the property actually sell for two years ago?  Who can explain why the DCAD suddenly increased the property value over $240,000 within one year?  Who with the city negotiated for the purchase of this property?  Has there been a valid appraisal of the property to see if the value is even close to $525,000?  Who are the real financial beneficiaries of this deal?  Finally, where in the city charter does it grant the city the power to be in competition with local apartment owners?  Has anyone detailed where the funds for all present and future maintenance of the project will come from? The city is a governmental entity, not a for profit business operation.  (And considering all the recent financial snafus created by the current city administration, they never would do well in the real business world.) 

     For those still shaking their heads, action on this item requires immediate attention.  The issue will be discussed and voted on at the October 18th city council meeting.  What makes this even more alarming is that this is the FIRST time this proposal has been presented to the council by the city manager.  This would also be the FIRST and ONLY time that citizens will have an opportunity to weigh in on the issue.  What’s going on here?  Does the city manager really believe that this represents transparency of city operations?  

     What can you do?  Immediately, contact members of the council.  Contact information is: 972-898-7500 Beth Van Duyne Mayor  2014 469-450-0444 Tom Spink Place 6  2015 972-259-2626 Joe Putnam Place 4  2015 972-871-0019 Rose Cannaday Place 5  2014 972-586-1490 Michael Gallaway Place 1   2013  214-460-1990 Brad LaMorgese Place 8  2015 214-929-6700 Roy Santoscoy Place 2  2013 214-490-9749 Dennis Webb Place 3  2014 972-523-0784 Gerald Farris Place 7  2013

     Staff of the CCR would also reminds readers that this is the same city management that couldn’t handle the McDougalville Heritage Crossing project that is costing citizens $57 million; responsible for $4 million in questionable/unexplained Entertainment Center expenses approved by ‘unnamed city employees;” approved a $161,000 grant writing salary for the ex-fire chief after he resigned and then was re-hired; allowed the Irving chamber of commerce to siphon $600,000+ city stadium-sign revenue to obtain a suite at Cowboys Stadium; has difficulty keeping critical city information on BlackBerrys while also transferring funds from one department to another to handle pet projects; and been known to pick up sporting venue tickets from under a front door mat at their residence. 

     If you never have contacted your local elected council representative, staff of the CCR would suggest that this would be the perfect time to do so.