Wolfforth Council denies loan for tax credit property

Wolfforth Council members have wrangled for a month over the question of whether to loan money to a developer hoping to build tax credit properties near Patterson Park, but they made a decision Monday night.

With a unanimous vote, first by voice and then by raised hands, four council members declined to give a loan to Roundstone Development for a single-family development near the park.

The council first listened to a presentation from Lubbock developer Mike McDougal, who gave an independent assessment of two different tax credit proposals that have been brought before the city.

McDougal first told the council that McDougal Companies are not involved in tax credit properties.

But he gave his assessment of each property based on what it will bring to the area.

A proposed apartment complex south of U.S. 62/82 is a great location, he said, adding that nothing about that project gave him pause.

“I have a hard time visualizing any downside” for the Wilhoit Properties proposed apartments, he said.

On the other hand, a project of single family homes near Patterson Park posed more difficulties, he said. The site will be a lot more difficult to develop, he said, although he said that’s really the developer’s problem, not the city’s.

What could be a city problem is that putting a tax credit property in that area could make it difficult to attract anything but other low-income housing to the area.

“This project really takes that (building anything besides low-income housing) off the table,” McDougal said.

Responding to a question from Councilwoman Julie Merrill about what he could see in that area instead, McDougal said if there were no mobile home park nearby and the area had access to a major city street, all kinds of commercial development could happen on the western perimeter of the property. Further east in the property, he said some hotels or more residential development could be possible.

To make that happen, he said it’s essential for the property to have access from F.M. 179, or Dowden Road.

“If you had access to that, it becomes whatever you want it to be,” McDougal said.

Before the council deliberated on whether to give Roundstone Development a loan, City Manager Darrell Newsom said, “Here we go again,” perhaps expecting a long debate.

But the council did not take long to give a thumbs down to the loan.

“It makes no sense to borrow the money to lend to them,” Councilman Bruce MacNair said.

The other council members agreed with him.

“We need $80,000 for other things,” Councilman James Vardy said.

Council members also approved:

  • A resolution approving the 2012-13 budget for the Emergency Communication District;
  • A directive to city officials to come up with a proposal for establishing fees for permitted signs;
  • A directive to city staff to prepare a draft participation in the Texas Municipal League resolution process;
  • The June financial report; and
  • A 60-day grant of leave of absence for Municipal Judge Donald Preston, the appointment of Royce Witte to take his place and a decision to hire Preston back as an independent contractor with a term to expire in May 2013 after his leave.
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