Housing incentive program re-authorized
The Hobbs City Commission on Monday night unanimously approved continuing and expanding its municipal infrastructure reimbursement incentive program for the upcoming fiscal year, a program the city says has incentivized 462 new homes since 2012 and 997 multi-family housing units since 2011.
The incentive program reimburses developers for the installation of public infrastructure, such as sidewalks and streets and water and sewer lines.
The new program will allow developers to receive up to $200,000 in incentives for single-family homes, up from $100,000 last fiscal year, and increases the time frame for building the homes from six months to one year.
“That’s primarily because we are in a high-velocity turnaround right now,” said Kevin Robinson, the city’s development director. “These units are hitting the ground and the development agreements are being requested and utilized more and more every day. Last year, we came before you with 14 additional (development agreements). So far this year, we’re at nine.”
The city’s first market-rate, single-family reimbursement incentive program was in June 2012. Since then, the city has appropriated $6.7 million toward market-rate, single-family development agreements and disbursed $4.4 million, incentivizing the building of 462 single-family homes.
The city’s first development agreement for multi-family housing was approved in February 2012. Subsequently, the city has appropriated $3.87 million in multi-family development agreements, which a city staff report says has incentivized $91.77 million of multi-family housing units, totaling 997 new units.
The city has budgeted $1.5 million in the 2019-20 fiscal year for single-family housing development agreements, and $200,000 for multi-family housing development agreements.
Market-rate, single-family development agreements must be between $30,000 and $200,000, and produce no fewer than three homes. Funds are disbursed as certificates of occupancy are issued by the city.
Market-rate, multi-family development agreements must be between $75,000 and $250,000, with funds disbursed after the final certificate of occupancy.
Individual development agreements must be approved by the City Commission. Mayor Sam Cobb said he met recently over a three-day period with potential developers from Dallas.
“They’re interested in building some housing in Hobbs,” Cobb said. “I think this has been a good strategic plan for us and our community to do this. A lot of velocity going on. In all parts of town, we’re seeing new lots being built. So I’m proud to be part of that.”
In other business Monday night, the City Commission unanimously approved a resolution authorizing funding appropriations for economic development and marketing activities, and tabled a professional services agreement with the Boys & Girls Club of Hobbs.
• The economic development resolution appropriates $200,000 to the Economic Development Corporation of Lea County for operations and $50,000 for special projects. The resolution also authorizes $75,000 to the Hobbs Chamber of Commerce and $64,000 to the Hobbs Hispano Chamber of Commerce.
The EDC and the two chambers were also awarded lodgers’ tax funding by the city in April. The EDC in April was awarded $107,000 to promote the Fly-Hobbs flights between Houston. The Hispano chamber was awarded $25,000 in lodgers’ taxes in April for the Fiestas De Septiembre and $20,000 for the Mariachi Christmas. The Hobbs chamber was awarded $15,618 in lodgers’ taxes in April for the Hobbs Holiday Tournament and $12,002.50 for the FeBREWary Festival.
• The funding resolution for the Boys & Girls Club would have allocated $69,000 to the club to operate a nine-week summer program for 6- to 12-year-olds. The program is nine hours each day Monday through Friday, offering recreational, educational, personal improvement and cultural activities. The agreement requires the Boys & Girls Club to hire eight additional workers to serve as staff for the day program.
After contract questions were raised about the city’s payment schedule, the City Commission voted 4-1 to table the agreement with the Boys & Girls Club until July. Cobb cast the dissenting vote. City Commissioners Marshall Newman and Patricia Taylor did not attend Monday night’s meeting.
• The professional services agreement with Pacific Rim begins for a one-year term on July 1, with possible renewals for three more years. The agreement stipulates that Rockwind Grill will pay the city $1,000 a month — an increase from $500 in prior agreements — plus 5 percent of its gross sales. The agreement also states the city is entitled to sponsor up to three events a year at the golf course, with the city receiving 80 percent of the net income after deductions for Rockwind Grill’s pre-approved expenses.
The agreement begins July 1 and may be renewed by the parties for up to three more years.
On April 15, the City Commission approved a bid from Pacific Rim to run Rockwind Grill. However, the city and the owner of Pacific Rim, Jaw Rue, were unable to negotiate an agreement by an April 20 deadline, resulting in the grill being closed on Easter Sunday.
After a special City Commission meeting on April 22 in which the commission approved an extension of the prior contract, the grill re-opened on April 23.
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