PREMIER DEV INC—DEVELOPERS OR LAND LIQUIDATORS?

August 12, 2017

A little research on the internet brings into question how the Key Estate property on Jackson Lake will really be developed.  A similar property—The Peninsula at Lake James in North Carolina—may give us some insight.

Here is what Jim Deal and John Snow have told the Jasper County citizens, the P&Z Board and the BOC: 

Neither of these two men, nor “Premier Land” are the land buyers.  The company appears to be a land liquidation company.  According to comments on the internet, “They’re simply (state) licensed auctioneers by a different name.”  Their website is http://www.premierdevinc.com/  and the company name on the website is “Premier Land.”  It appears they have also used the name Premier Land Liquidators.  During their talk to the P&Z and the BOC, we never heard them mention their company name.

The Peninsula at Lake James sounds a lot like The Peninsula at Lake Jackson, so we took a look at it.   

People living on or near Lake James have protested the Lake James development, with many of the same complaints voiced by Jackson Lake residents.  You can read the entire news report here:

Advocates for Lake James speak out at Planning Board meeting

http://www.mcdowellnews.com/news/advocates-for-lake-james-speak-out-at-planning-board-meeting/article_ed68e9ac-84e7-11e6-8840-3bfe9c2324a6.html

The issue about development on Lake James has come up again because of a new controversial housing development that is in the works and others that could happen as well.  Last month, the Planning Board gave its unanimous approval for the first phase of the development called The Peninsula at Lake James.

This subdivision will be located on the northwestern part of the lake, past Bear Creek Marina and right off Lake James Road.  The proposed development will cover 223 acres with 150 lots for both phases.  Phase one will have 62 lots, according to County Manager Ashley Wooten.

Opponents say this development will make the lake and its shoreline more crowded and would harm the quality of Lake JamesIt will also make the boat traffic on the water more congested. At their Sept. 12 meeting, the McDowell County Commissioners heard from the opponents of this development and agreed to have the Planning Board take another look at the rules concerning subdivisions on the lake, which were adopted in 2003, and see if any changes should be made.

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The “developers” also seem to be involved in Towns County, GA.  A comment on the Topix board in Hiawassee—

Concerned

I was wondering if anyone has encountered this company before which is now operating in our area. They apparently buy bankrupt properties or subdivisions and then re-sell them at “below market” prices. They just did a sale on the Hiwassee River outside of Murphy and I heard that they are buying property in Towns County. I’m concerned that this is one of those companies that “flip” properties. They create a lot of hype, send out flyers and buy radio and television ads. Then they have a one day “sales event” with a lot of high pressure. There is usually one property they advertise at way below market, but that one is always “sold” when someone inquires, and the rest are much more expensive. What happens is that people buy into a lot of promises that never materialize while the seller moves on to the next bankruptcy. Nobody wins but the seller and the bank. Often these companies will dissolve after a few years and form a new LLC, trying to stay just out of reach of all the promises they made to their buyers. I hope this is not happening in Towns County, but unfortunately in Georgia, the law is “buyer beware.”



Unfortunately, our BOC does not do a lot of research; they depend on the P&Z Director, who in this case, has allowed the real estate agent for the property to lead and guide him. 

It appears Lynn Bentley, the BOA Chief Assessor, has given the BOC exaggerated figures of the values of the proposed development lots, and especially if they are liquidated as seems to be the case with most of the Premier Land developments.  She valued dockable properties at $160,000 and interior lots at $30,000 to give a “high estimate” of the taxes the county will collect. 

People living on Jackson Lake and along Jackson Lake Road, need to do all the research they can and then call and/or email all the Commissioners before the August 28th hearing and decision, and then show up for the hearing. 

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, Planning & Zoning, Property taxes | Tagged , , , , , , | 5 Comments

QUESTIONS FROM CITIZENS AND BOC PUT DEVELOPER OF KEY ESTATE PROPERTY IN QUANDRY

August 10, 2017

The public hearing Monday night (8/7/17) concerning the zoning exception for the Key Estate property showed that the citizens are anticipating what may happen, and some asked that the BOC put stipulations in place to keep it from happening.

Mr. Burch, who lives on Eagle Dr., told the BOC that those developing the property should be required to use the subdivision roads because Eagle Dr. was in such bad shape already.

Mr. Domine, who lives on Ski Cove, asked if the variances were already written.  Then he questioned what would be voted on.  In particular, he wanted to know if this variance would be allowed to be passed on to another developer, and if that was the case, another developer could develop the conventional subdivision anyway they wanted.  Watch this very informative discussion.

Questions from citizens about development that need answers, but county attorney must research

The county attorney’s answer was he would have to research a special condition to a special exception.

John Snow, one of the developers, told the BOC that clear cutting could not be regulated.  Comm. Pennamon wasn’t so sure about that. 

Comm. Salmon asked about Eagle Dr.  Mr. Snow said it would be a “secondary entrance” for the subdivision and there would be a back gate at the entrance on Eagle Dr.

Comm. Pennamon asked if the developers would maintain Eagle Dr. during development.  The developer hedged, saying no one could tell what harm they would do to the road, and would not commit to maintaining it or fixing it. 

Mr. Burch then informed the BOC that there is no way to access the lots on that side of the property except through Eagle Dr.  Mr. Snow still would not commit to maintaining Eagle Dr. and said he may have to redraw the layout of the roads on the plat.  Watch this video where the BOC ask the hard questions.

Questions from BOC and “answers” from developer about Eagle Dr. and the use of that road during development. 

The developers have made promises that the citizens of the county as well as the BOC need to remember.  #1 is –in the future this development’s roads will be maintained by the HOA of subdivision—not the County

The final hearing and the decision by the BOC on this proposal (The Peninsula at Lake Jackson) will be held August 28, 2017 at 6:00PM.  The place has not been posted, but most likely it will be in the small courtroom upstairs in the courthouse.  Before that time, you can email any or all of the commissioners and let them know your thoughts and any concerns.


TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, Planning & Zoning, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

COMM. SALMON WANTS SPLOST DEBT BACK TO $8,200,000

August 8, 2017

After Comm. Pennamon went over the new list of SPLOST projects—

$2,250,000 for the Sheriff’s offices, $2,250,000 for Roads, and $1,700,000 for a Recreation building —

Comm. Salmon asked where the $2M the BOC agreed to cut was going to come from for the projects dropped from SPLOST.  He pushed to have the debt back up to $8.2M(See items cut here)

Comm. Pennamon informed Comm. Salmon that the BOC didn’t say when they were going to purchase or fund the $2M of projects cut.  Comm. Pennamon did say that those projects would be funded by using fund balance over future years.

Comm. Salmon wasn’t satisfied with that and went into his usual speech about fund balance.  Comm. Pennamon pushed the BOC to get the amount of the debt borrowing (bonds) settled with a vote.  He said the continued back and forth discussion was “going to confuse the general public.”

After the 4 to 1 vote with Comm. Salmon against, the BOC has decided to borrow $6.2M, knowing only $3.9M of revenue will be coming in.  The citizens will have an opportunity to vote YES or NO on this in November.  The projects will be presented as above; however, the SPLOST vote is about adding $6.2M of debt on top of our ever increasing property taxes instead of paying for things as money comes in.

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, Elections/voting, SPLOST | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

WHAT WERE THE SPLOST CUTS AND ARE THEY REALLY CUT?

“WE DIDN’T CUT IT, WE JUST PUT IT IN A DIFFERENT BUCKET”—Comm. Salmon

August 5, 2017

TWG has repeatedly warned you of the $8.2M of debt the BOC plans to encumber you with, while trying to pass it off as SPLOST projects you will vote on in November.  It appears the BOC still plans to spend all the money they “cut.”

At the 7/31/17 meeting, Comm. Henry pushed again to cut the high amount of debt to fund SPLOST projects.  After almost 2 hours of discussion, the BOC seemed to agree to a $2M cut.  (See our last blog IS THE BOC AFRAID FOR THE PUBLIC TO KNOW THE TRUE COST OF THE PROPOSED SPLOST DEBT?)

Here is a list of the projects before (at $8.2M of debt) and after ($6.2M of debt):

LMIG Match                                                     $1,190,132                                        $0
Road Paving                                                     $2,250,000                                       $2,250,000

1 Tandem Dump Truck                                  $  235,000                                         $0

Sheriff Offices -Addition                               $2,250,000                                        $2,250,000

Fire Rescue                                                      $  290,000                                         $0

Gymnasium at Rec Dep’t                              $2,000,000                                     $1,700,000*

911 Tower Repeaters                                    $    65,000                                         $0

Total                                                            $8,280,132                                   $6,200,000

*$300,000 to be added from 2012 SPLOST that has not been spent

REMEMBER—SPLOST proceeds to the County are estimated to be only $3,900,000.  The BOC wants to finance the $6,200,000 over 20 years and pay another million or two dollars in interest.

Comm. Salmon did say after the consensus to cut, that the money wasn’t really cut, just put in another bucket.  It seems the BOC wants to put us in tremendous debt as well as keep our taxes high.

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, Property taxes, Recreation, Sheriff, SPLOST | Tagged , , , , , , | 3 Comments

IS THE BOC AFRAID FOR THE PUBLIC TO KNOW THE TRUE COST OF THE PROPOSED SPLOST DEBT?

August 3, 2017

All during the 7/31/17 BOC meeting the BOC and financial advisor discussed how to “clear things up” so the public would vote yes on the tremendous new debt they propose.

One of those ways was to give the debt information to the public in “bits and pieces” and let them figure out the true cost.  (start at 3:28 to hear how public might be able to solve for the figure)

Will the citizens get the actual proof of the costs of the debt or will the BOC hide all the figures?  SPLOST debt will not be paid off during the 6 year SPLOST, it will take at least 18 years and probably 20 years.  

Doug Luke seemingly supports informing the public of SPLOST specifics, but wants to limit the public material to “one liners.” The financial adviser says they can limit the explanation of SPLOST debt on referendum to principle only.

Commissioner Pennamon says that if SPLOST is sold to the public wrong it will fail.  He says all he wants to tell people is that SPLOST will be used to retire debt.  Commissioner Pennamon says the BOC’s Job Is to sell SPLOST while downplaying debt.

Despite Comm. Henry saying people won’t vote for that much debt, Comm. Pennamon still thinks public would vote for a $8.2M bond.

$8.2M debt to be paid back for 20 years would cost over $10M to pay back, and possibly more depending on the interest rate.

Next blog, the cuts made and what SPLOST will fund now—unless it changes again.  There was NO vote on the cuts.

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

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Posted in County, SPLOST | Tagged , , , | 17 Comments

Chairman Pennamon wants TWG Chair Mary Patrick to Become a Political “Asset” for the Board of Commissioners

August 1, 2017

Last night Comm. Pennamon could not stand it that Mary Patrick thanked Comm. Bruce Henry for sticking in there and pushing (over 3 or 4 meetings) to cut the SPLOST projects and the corresponding debt. 

 It seems what Comm. Pennamon was really upset about was the TWG report of him and Comm. Jernigan tag-teaming Comm. Henry in a previous meeting for trying to make cuts and the TWG  report of Comm. Pennamon suggesting a financial advisor to help them fund the $8.2M in SPLOST debt.  He questioned Ms. Patrick about both of those before the meeting.

Comm. Pennamon asked that Mary Patrick put the above video up on the blog.  Was he “encouraging” her to report things the way he wanted instead of what really goes on in the meetings when he spoke to her?  

 Pennamon said he wanted her to “get it and get it right.”  That is the exact reason we put up videos, because it seems the BOC can’t remember what they say during a meeting.  Without the videos, how much would they deny to the public and how much would they hide from the public?

 

TWG

Citizens, be informed and stay informed!  Only by being informed, can the citizens understand what is being done and talked about, and then press our officials to make good decisions for everyone in Jasper County.  That is our goal with the Taxdogs blog.

www.taxdogs.wordpress.com

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Posted in County, Open Government, SPLOST | Tagged , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

KEEP THE PRESSURE ON—BOC CUTS PROPOSED SPLOST BY $2M

August 1, 2017

 Comm. Bruce Henry continued to fight to cut the $8.2M proposed SPLOST and the corresponding debt last night at the BOC meeting.  He finally succeeded in convincing the majority of the BOC to make cuts of $2M.

 The financial advisor gave some insight into how much the debt would cost, how it would be advertised, and informed the BOC they could not promote, or as Comm. Pennamon keeps saying, “sell” the SPLOST.

 We will have more details and video later tonight on this meeting.

Keep up the pressure!  Jasper County citizens do not need more debt.  We need the BOC to fund projects with SPLOST proceeds only, not debt!

TWG

 

Posted in County, SPLOST | Tagged , , | 3 Comments