19 Aug 2019 DEVELOPMENT FAILURES:
The following question was raised in a recent letter to all citizens. I’m sure many of you are wondering basically the same thing. Here is my best stab at an explanation:
“Why are we responsible for development failures when it was supposed to be secured with bonds? Why hasn’t our inspections, standards and LEI Engineering been able to protect us after 25 years of failures? PS) LEI is owned by former Mayor Harding’s son-in-law and it appears there’s still too much nepotism in the city in other positions.”
(Sorry, this is kind of long.) This is an excellent question! Believe me, I asked it too. Here is my best stab at an answer. We have two developments that have failed.
1) The development failed when the developer went bankrupt before the development was completed. Improvements that still need to be completed are the road, rock-lined ditches, sewer, electricity, and natural gas. After the bankruptcy, the developer did as much of the work himself with his own equipment as he could. The individual property owners will have to bear the cost of getting the electrical and gas services to their homes (even though that was promised by the developer). The City is left responsible for the road, ditches, and sewer. We did have a bond in place in the form of a piece of property that has since been sold. The value of the property was more than enough to cover the cost of the improvements when it was secured, but inflation has worked its magic, and the costs of construction have increased more than the value of the property did at the time that the bond was called and the property was sold.
2) The second development was inspected and passed by a previous City Engineer. The engineer also gave the City documentation of a bond to secure the development. This all transpired more than 10 years ago. The City no longer has this City Engineer. Very unfortunately some of the basic pieces of the development are failing (both water and asphalt). Additionally, when attempting to call the bond, we found that it was never actually secured. We have checked with the City Attorney and found that the people who have bought property in this development are considered “innocent third parties.” The City is legally required to provide completed and functional services to the area. Frustrating? Yes. Mismanagement? Yes. By current City Officials? Nope. We are committed to doing our best to clean up the mess, however.
LEI, our current City Engineers, and Corbett Stephens who does our inspections, serve us very well. I am confident that if they had been in place when this development was completed we would not be experiencing any of the problems with it that we are. (Also, let me be clear in saying that I do not necessarily blame the City officials at that time for the bad advice/service they got from their City Engineer.)