Bailey Hill Reservoir Project: Another City of Fort Smith Boondoggle

This letter is in reference to the Bailey Hill Reservoir project. The City of Fort Smith is proposing supporting this project in the form of subsidized construction of the infrastructure. These funds are sourced from tax dollars paid, in large part, by the Real Estate holders of the city, both private and commercial.    I represent the River Valley Landlord’s Association, a group of local Landlord’s and related professionals. We have 52 members representing over 3,500 rental units in the River Valley Area. Representatives from the Housing Authority spoke to our Association in December of 2012. Several aspects of that conversation have caused concern amongst our members:   *) Representatives from the Housing Authority claim that The City has a need for additional affordable housing. When asked how this was determined, the representative stated that a survey was conducted by a company hired by the City. When members in attendance (40+ persons) were asked who had been surveyed, ONE person raised their hand. This would seem to indicate that the survey is inaccurate and misrepresents the actual number of Landlords surveyed and, therefore, the real possibility of manipulation of the data. Who conducted this “Survey", where may we review the results, and who is the entity that audited and approved these results?   *)If the Housing Authority would conduct and advertise education seminars for area Landlords, then more Landlords would find a comfort level dealing with the Authority. The education of area Landlords alone would free up scores of units by providing guidance on how to navigate through the paperwork and regulations that many Landlords find intimidating. The Housing Authority cannot expect a web site or conducting a once a quarter meeting, without related training sessions, to attract Landlords with viable properties.   *) The United Development Ordinance (U.D.O.) requires that the Developer develops the infrastructure, not the City.   *) The City donated the land to the Housing Authority for this project. Private Enterprise was not given a chance for this gift.   *) Many of the Vouchers given by the Housing Authority are for specific projects. This automatically excludes independent Landlords. This is not unfair competition; this is a complete lack of competition.    *) Private Enterprise is better suited to this type of development as they are answerable to profit margins and the realities of a Free Market. The Housing Authority is free from such realities. The Authority has very little incentive, if any, to execute this project in the most cost effective, quality manner. The proposed Project has a projected per unit cost of $160,000 a piece when land, infrastructure, etc. is included. A Private builder, it is estimated, can build a 3 bedroom, one bath unit for approximately $70,000.  But even excluding this efficiency, how can a Private Builder compete with the proposed units that have garages, two baths, dishwashers and monthly rental rates that are subsidized not only for the basic rent but the utilities as well?  Will we Landlords be so extravagantly subsidized by the City? After all, these are our taxes and don't we have a right to the use of a portion of them to offset the unrealistic market prices set by the Housing Authority?  The Landlords of this City pay a large percentage of the tax revenue that keeps this city running. We, as commercial landholders, cannot avail ourselves of Homesteading our rental properties, we pay full blow millage in our Real Estate taxes. To use the taxes collected  in part from local Landlords to build direct competition to our livelihood is simply unconscionable and immoral.   *) The City of Fort Smith is simply not in the Housing industry. That is why H.U.D. and other Federal Agencies were formed. Funds used for this proposed project could, and should, be used to attract businesses to the area and increase the tax base, one of the main functions of the Fort Smith Board of Directors.   *) The Housing Authority is in the position to take the most eligible tenants. Where are the checks and balances to make sure we Landlords get the same quality tenant?     Our Association is dedicated to providing quality housing at affordable prices in a fair market environment. We look forward to the opportunity for all parties in this situation:  the Landlords, the Housing Authority, the City of Fort Smith, the tax payer, and most importantly, the persons in need of affordable housing, the get best possible service and outcome.   Respectfully submitted,   Anthony Lee President
River Valley Landlord's Association
www.RiverValleyLandlords.com
 
Five Star: 
Average: 3.4 (12 votes)

Comments

Really

You claim you can build a 3 bedroom one bath house for $70,000. Really? There is not a single piece of new construction in Fort Smith for a 3 bedroom home for $70,000, and certainly not one on the south side of Fort Smith where Bailey Hill is located. I do not necessarily disagree with your position, but your position would be much more believable if you did not resort to such gross exaggerations as this. Please keep your argument factual. You and the organization you represent will be much better served.

$70,000 home building cost

Yes you can build a 3 bedroom for $70,000 as there are townhomes, not Single Family Dwellings. Easily buldable for $70,000.

maybe

it may be possible to build a 3 bedroom one bath home for 70,000 dollars if there is no land cost and the house is a basic starter home concept.

Building a $70,000 home for the Housing Authority

A $70,000 town home is easy to build in this area. We are speaking of town homes, not Single Family Dwellings.

Anthony Lee
W.E.L., L.L.C.
General Partner
River Valley Landlord's Association
President
(479) 652-3800

Please provide

Please provide a listing for a newly constructed 3 bedroom home on the southside of Fort Smith for $70,000, townhome or other. I will be there in a New York minute to purchase it and use it as investment property.

New York Minute

Just come to one of our Association Meetings and meet a roomful of savy builders who know how to build within a budget and make an honest profit!

Anthony Lee
W.E.L., L.L.C.
General Partner
River Valley Landlord's Association
President
(479) 652-3800

Show Me Proof

I asked you to prove what you said. Show me a listing for one newly constructed 3 bedroom home, townhouse or other, on the south side of Fort Smith for $70,000 or less. If you do, I will be there in a New York minute to purchase it. Your responses, which amount to a refusal to provide the listing, clearly show no such homes exist. FYI: I have spoken with others laughed at me when I told them I wanted to buy a new 3 bedroom home on the south side of Fort Smith for $70k or less. I also have reviewed the multi-list for Fort Smith so I am certain no such property exists. Just be honest and admit that you exaggerated a bit. But please, stop with the charade. As I said earlier, I do not disagree with the premise of your argument. I simply think that exaggerations and misinformation take away from your argument. I now see where you are calling someone a coward and threatening to sue him/her on this thread which also takes away from your argument. You should rethink your approach and calm down. You invited scrutiny when you voluntarily posted on a public forum.

hard to have sympathy for the devil

The slumlords hold back Fort Smith's promise more than any other group. Did you happen to notice in your list of whining to the public you didn't include ONE THING that you were willing to do to make the community a better place to live. You are a greedy lot.

Sympathy for the Devil

And you are a coward for not leaving your name. Reread the letter, slowly, and you will see what we have to offer. Real slow now. You don't even know our properties. And careful, I will sue for defamation!

Anthony Lee
W.E.L., L.L.C.
General Partner
River Valley Landlord's Association
President
(479) 652-3800

devil in the details

Let's see, you are whining about a survey that shows a need saying there isn't really one, and yet you are politicing to get the building contract. You whine that you need seminars to hearn how to be HUD landlords yet you admit you don't go to quarterly HUD meetings now. You whine over the land gift to the housing authority, yet say you can't offer low rents and bills paid. You pay yourself on the back for paying taxes, which is tax deductible. Now exactly, now ponder this slowly, what are you offering the city? And I don't mean that you can build more cheaply, I mean, what commitments is your organization going to make to be more proactive in creating well-kept properties on landscape-maintained fashionable streets and raise standards of living.

90 thousand dollar question

if fort smith home builders are saying that a 70,000 dollar town home would be easy to buid in fort smith, why is the housing authority saying that they need 160,000 dollars per unit? where is the other 90,000 dollars going and lets not forget that these were advertised as low cost housing?

Dirty deeds done dirt cheap

If I recall this area was in pretty bad shape even in the 60's. Were these poor people paid anything at all for their property? If not one can see quite a cost reduction for whoever gets a brand new house there.