Local commercial broker clarifies, corrects information in editorial

To the Editor:

Your April 14 editorial on the annexation of 159 acres is very misleading. You fail to mention that the developer pays for the installation of the sewer, water, curb and gutter and paved streets and many times donates land for local parks.

Your statement in the fifth paragraph states, “If the city annexes the land, it is obligated to provide water, sewer and road infrastructure as well as city services, to include police and fire protection.”

Part of that is true, but the developer spends hundreds of thousands of dollars to install the water and sewer lines, and road infrastructure and then, once it is approved by the city, deeds it to the city at no cost to the city.

The developer has to warranty that the infrastructure meets city requirements for the first year or two prior to the city taking responsibility for it.

In addition, the revenue the city receives from developed subdivisions with or without homes is much higher than undeveloped land.

Much of the undeveloped land is taxed as agriculture at a much lower tax rate, but as soon as a developer puts in the infrastructure, (water and sewer lines and streets) the taxes go up dramatically on that land.

If a developer installs the infrastructure on 159 acres, it may take several years for the lots to be sold to home builders and homes to be built on all the lots, but in the meantime, the city gets taxes on the developed lots immediately and the developer is still paying for them.

In addition, you also say “if the city does not proceed with annexation, the developer can build their respective subdivisions following county building standards, which are generally less restrictive than those mandated by the city.”

That is not true if the property is within the (ETJ) (extraterritorial jurisdiction), which is normally five miles from the city limits. The developer has to follow the same guidelines as if the property is in the city limits if it is in the ETJ.

Unfortunately, many people are under the impression that the city pays for the infrastructure in new developments, and your article gives that impression also.

Without developers risking a lot of money building new subdivisions, it would be difficult for cities to grow.

Many times developers get a bad rap when it is not deserved.

Jim Wright

Commercial broker

Killeen

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