In April 2018 it was revealed to the taxpayers of Forney that the City of Forney is $44,249,226.98 in debt to Petro-Hunt land developers in connection to infrastructure improvements made to the Gateway Project (Meadow Ridge Farms).
Now on Thursday night it will finally be publicly revealed that auditors have determined the true figure of taxpayer debt on the Gateway Project will be $54,000,000.
During the April 2018 meeting of the City Council and the City of Forney Tax Increment Finance (TIF) Board, a joint decision was made to hire McCall Gibson Swedlund & Barefoot PLLC to audit the entire Meadow Ridge Farms Development Agreement along with the legal establishment of Reinvestment Zone Number One, City of Forney.
At the time that this huge debt was initially revealed to the public, Council Member’s Robbie Powers, Mary Penn and Shaun Myers were clearly irritated and embarrassed by the exposure of another costly contractual error made by former City Manager Brian Brooks.
Joining Council Member’s Penn and Powers in their unwavering support of their friend's Brian Brooks and former Mayor Darrell Grooms, during the two-hour April meeting, Council Member Shaun Myers stated “We just need to move forward. That’s it.”
So now the taxpayers of Forney will discover how this council intends to “move forward” and convince the taxpayers to swallow a $54 million dollar price tag for the Gateway Project.
During the past seven months the Forney Council has provided absolutely no public information on how they intend to “settle up” with Petro-Hunt President Herbert Hunt on the Gateway Project.
The City Council has made changes in their appointments to the TRIZ Board, the P&Z Commission and the Forney Economic Development Board in order to make preparations and zoning changes necessary to accommodate Hunt development plans within the Gateway Project.
Kaufman County officials appointed to the City of Forney TIF Board have sought both legal and financial counsel, and now the TIF Board is being convened in hope of quietly negotiating a $54 million dollar tax debt without too much interference from the actual taxpayers of this county.
The attached documents outline both the original Gateway Reimbursement Agreement which is no longer enforceable due to the illegal manner in which it was established, and the new Gateway Project development agreement that the Forney Council and Hunt attorneys want to implement.
This is a seriously convoluted financial situation that is extremely detrimental to both the taxpayers of Forney and the taxpayers of Kaufman County.
Therefore, all area taxpayers are encouraged to review the attached documents and links, and to feel free to attend Thursday evening’s meeting of the City of Forney TIF Board which will be held at Forney City Hall at 6:30 pm.
Written by: Denise Bell