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Let’s hear from the voters

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On Thursday evening the representatives from Centurion American (CA) held an open meeting at Salerno’s Restaurant on FM 2499 in Flower Mound. President and CEO Mehrdad Moayedi gave the presentation with assistance from consultants Bobby Dollak and Kirk Wilson. The public participation session was arranged in order to bring residents up to date on the progress of the development known as the River Walk.

Mr. Moayedi opened up the meeting by explaining that the Municipal Management District (MMD) bill that was recently proposed in the Texas Legislature did not pass, ostensibly, because it was proposed too late in the session. As a result, a new approach to the financing of this elaborate project is being explored. Centurion American may be requesting that the Town Council call a local election this November, giving their constituents the opportunity to vote for or against the creation of a Public Improvement District (PID).

If approved, the PID would allow the developer to sell bonds based on the faith and credibility of his reputation as a premier builder, and based on the value of the property. The PID would be a special assessment area paid for by the property owners in the district. These owners pay a supplemental assessment with their taxes, which the PID uses for services above and beyond existing town services. The assessment allows each PID to have its own work program, which may consist of eligible activities such as marketing the area, providing additional security, landscaping and lighting, street cleaning, and cultural or recreational improvements. Anyone moving into the special district would be apprised ahead of time that they’re responsible for paying the supplemental assessment as part of their taxes. There are subtle differences between the MMD and the PID, but each contains the availability of considerable revenue to add numerous amenities to the project. It was clearly stated that the River Walk will happen, with or without the PID. However, if the PID is used, the developer will be able to complete the task without having to build as many apartments, thereby reducing the potential density.

There were numerous questions posed to Mr. Moayedi, who handled them with sincerity and self-assurance, employing the use of a Power Point screen up front and several large maps in the rear of the room. For more than 90 minutes the audience kept the discussion lively, but courteous, as the host took the necessary time to carefully answer each query to the satisfaction of the questioner.

He stated that the actual building of the River Walk (the waterway) will proceed in August, three months before the November election (if there is one). In the event that a plebiscite is not held, or, if held and the electorate rejects the PID, the project will continue, albeit with few amenities and several hundred more apartments. Once again, in my opinion, the Centurion American folks are going the extra mile to inform residents about this magnificent undertaking and asking for their approval. Toward the end of the meeting, Mr. Moayedi asked the group to raise their hands if they like the ideas presented, and a majority did so.

The next phase of this ambitious enterprise will be a formal presentation by CA to the Town Council, requesting that they vote to allow residents to decide the issue in November. Ultimately, a yes vote would consent to a superbly engineered and constructed showplace as our town center, with upscale restaurants and retail stores, a boutique-style theater, flawless landscaping and numerous other attractive amenities. The aforementioned, at completion, would add millions of dollars to our tax base, much of which would come from non-residents wanting to shop and dine while casually strolling along the picturesque River Walk colonnade.

Toward the end of the meeting Mr. Moayedi said he really doesn’t see how anyone could be opposed to having the project with the sensational amenities included by virtue of the PID. I couldn’t agree more. There will be another meeting on Wednesday, June 19, at 7 p.m., at Trietsch Memorial UMC, 6101 Morriss Road.

Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.

 

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