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BUMPERSTR IPS: 4×11″, red & blue on white. 500 for $11; 1000 for $20. Send check and Zip Code; we pay tax and postage. TABLOIDS, Signs, and other materials will be available in nOxt few days; call or w _rite for our list and samples. FUTURA PRESS ..c Phone 512/442-7836 1714 SOUTH CONGRESS P.O. BOX 3485 AUSTIN. TEXAC #rip itz’ Since 1866 The Place in Austin GOOD FOOD GOOD BEER. 1607 San Jacinto 477-4171 financial records of the MUDs represented by his firm were off-limits to newspapers, especially the Post. She has continued to report on the districts. The developers’ view of water districts as efficient providers of needed facilities was not shared by David W. Tees of the Institute of Urban Studies at the University of Texas at Arlington. His study, part of a report of the Texas Urban Development Commission to the governor last November, concentrates on the benefits to developers and the potential for exploitation of the special district system. It recommends consolidated state control of special districts like MUDs, as well as a wider and more flexible role for municipalities in controlling extraterritorial growth. Tees thus raises one issue persistently ignored by supporters of the water-district control over growth. The wholesale begetting of MUDs keeps that control firmly in the hands of the developer, through his chosen tax assessor and board of directors. At the same time, the districts turn over to developers the control unlimited, unsupervised control over the spending of millions of dollars provided by people who never had any choice. Whether developers will keep that control, or lose it to stronger governmental regulation or taxpayers’ revolts, remains to be seen. J.F. See MUD run: a primer Houston If you’re in the real estate development business, especially in Harris County, and you’re looking for a way to cut expenses and increase the value of your property, you might look into the water district game. It’s not really very difficult could be just the boost you need. You begin, of course, with the land. If you don’t already own the property, don’t be discouraged: consider the purchase an opportunity to meet the right kind of people. The bankers and real estate men you get to know now may be invaluable. The next step is getting your water district created. If you happen to know a state legislator, or know someone who does, he can sponsor a bill setting up a district, authorizing a bond sale and naming your board of directors. Rep. Jack Ogg is an expert at water district bills \(he sponsored 50 or so in the last session House. Ask your banker for help, or your lawyer. Try retaining someone in the firm of Smith, Rowe, Fisher and Hay to represent your district: they’re real professionals in this area. Don’t worry about the drafting of the bill. Many “new” bills are simply photocopies of old ones with new place names typed in. Try to get the bill on the consent calendar to eliminate delays in passage. If circumstances or personal convictions make such a bill impossible for you, consider petitioning the Texas Water Rights Commission. All you need are a few residents of the proposed district. Two or three will be sufficient. Make sure they are people you can trust \(friends are good for this purpose, relatives even better and majority of them to sign the petition and vote correctly in various elections. The elections can be held in the home of one of the residents in a house you built for him, say, or in a trailer or tent you proiride, if your subdivision is short on houses. Once you’re established, your electorate can start authorizing the issuance and sale of bonds. There’s no limit to how much money you can borrow by bond sales, so don’t scrimp. Smart districts plan well in advance: the 97 Harris County districts whose indebtedness was tabulated by the Tax Research Association have a total outstanding debt of $174,073,000. ‘It’s very important that you sell the bonds, and that you select your buyer carefully. There is tax-free income to be made from receiving interest on bonds, and the person who receives it should be someone whose friendship will be valuable to you. Of course, you could have your development company buy them. Once your district has all that money in hand, your board of directors will have to decide how to spend it. There will be lawyers’ fees, and engineers’ fees, and you’ll have to set aside a little to pay for the interest for two or three years, and those incidentals do mount up \(one district built a recreation center and paid for travel of the money will have to be used to install water lines and such, but perhaps the board of directors will see fit to hire a construction company recommended to them by someone they can rely on. Again, it’s important to see the necessity of spending money as an opportunity, and not as a difficulty. Most of the district’s transactions will be perfectly legal \(your lawyer should be that not every one of your arrangements will please everyone. Don’t go looking for trouble: you are not obligated to submit audits to the Texas Water Rights Commission \(less than half the districts in cooperate with irresponsible newspaper reporters. Your board of directors does not have to meet in the subdivision. Once the rush to buy homes in the district gets into high gear, you may find relations with your residents problem.. It’s important to work closely with the district’s tax assessor and board of equalization, which will handle appeals from the assessor’s assessments. The repayment of all that money, even as a very long-term project, requires foresight. The first thing to do is get a low appraisal on the land you still own in the development. Try to sell it all before the bonds stop, paying for their own interest. Ultimately, of course, you want to have the district annexed by the nearest municipality. The City of Houston has proved very cooperative in this regard, having assumed $44;754,500 in debts by annexing various districts since 1949. Keep in mind that many of the city officials you will be dealing with are real estate men themselves, and have an understanding of your particular needs. And remember that they are public servants, employed by the taxpayers: you pay their salaries. J.F. September 22, 1972 7