Thursday, August 19, 2010

A 380 Got Tagged

The First Chapter 380 agreement between the CoH and a private developer InTown Homes (not Ainbinder) was up for a vote yesterday in City Council.  CM Gonzalez tagged it.

You can see the Houston City Council Agenda Here.

A 'Tag' basically means the vote is postponed for another meeting.

City Council presents and 'Agenda Backup', which shows all details for such agreements that the city will make to spend Taxpayer dollars.  Here is a link to yesterday's meeting backup. 

Under that backup, here were the details of the 380:

23. ORDINANCE approving agreement between the City of Houston, Texas and INTOWN HOMES,
LTD. pursuant to Chapter 380 of the Texas Local Government Code for Economic Development
Assistance for development of three residential subdivisions in the City

Notice that there are no details concerning how taxpayer dollars would be offered, spent, or accounted for.

So the CoH offered a 380 to a developer, and offered only the referenced Ordinance to the public to support it.

Thats it.


  1. Great information, Nick. But, I think you're mistaken about details; check out the Request for Council Action on page 62. The 380 agreement is explained in greater detail there. For example, the RCA includes a detail of the permitted use of funds, source of repayment and approximate total amount to be invested in infrastructure by the developer. Because no funds are being requested from or checks written by the city, the amount and source of funding (from the city) is blank ($0). Unless I am misunderstanding this deal, the developer spends the money for city owned infrastructure, the money the developer spends generates new, incremental tax revenue, the developer gets his money back from those new tax revenues and, once he gets his money back (without a profit) the city keeps on keeping the additional taxes forever. Why is this a bad deal for the city?

  2. Hi Anonymous,
    As I've said before, I generally don't engage in 'Debates' on my blog ... I'm not forcing anyone to read them. That said, I came upon your comment last night, and figured 'eh, what the hell, I'll try and give an answer or two a whirl here.'

    These are more or less overall concerns with '380's, not so much geared towards this deal.

    Funding for developer reimbursements are eligible to come from 'Any Revenue Source' available to the city, so while the payments out now are nil, the repayment structure later can potentially come from anywhere the city sees fit.

    Add to this a couple of holes;
    -There are no details for phase 2 of the plan
    -Eligible projects must demonstrate a clear benefit to the public, and stimulate business/commercial activity
    -The Developer is responsible for the accounting
    -380's are geared towards projects that otherwise 'might not be financially viable' (Request for Council Action - Jun 24, 1999 - Important because thats when Houston set out its ordinances for 280's (Ordinance 99-674))

    Lastly, and most importantly, this does not mandate for the creation of a feeding stable for unicorns, which I feel is extremely important in urban residential developments.