The Community Development Corporation (CDC) is another entity that has its own budget and goes about deciding how to spend private property owners’ tax money for “community development”. It is actually funded with sales tax receipts, which the city could use for its own purposes, but for every dollar of sales tax money that the CDC spends, the city has to use private property owners’ tax dollars instead.
At one time the retail in what is now Hillside Village was going to generate sales tax dollars and reduce the private property owner taxpayer’s burden? Has it? No, because the city and its associates like the EDC and CDC find ways to spend both.
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) uses state law (see EDC menu item) to keep the citizens in the dark as to what they are doing with their budget, and the CDC seems to just keep an extremely low profile with terse agendas. The agendas and minutes are to be found at http://www.cedarhilltx.com/75/Agendas-Minutes.
This CDC site below states: “The 7-member board administers the half-cent community development sales tax. The board sets fund use policies and programs.“
A good example of how the CDC spends tax money is the $1,695,499.46, 12′ wide, 1.3 mile, concrete sidewalk from nowhere, FM 1382 and New Clark Road, to the Cedar Hill state park entrance. There is no city website source of information as to why this sidewalk is needed.
There is one city document that shows where 15 individuals in 2009 thought, above all else at the time, that a “connection” to the state park was paramount. See the City Center menu item or
http://www.cedarhilltx.com/DocumentCenter/Home/View/2112, page 20. Apparently the voters in 2009 could vote for more than one item.
This project is quintessential City of Cedar Hill. The idle minds at the city have a vision from some source. See also the visions in the City Center menu item. There is always private property owners’ tax money available to implement a vision at the city.
The vision came to fruition in the city council agenda below. This is an example of how your tax dollars are spent in “community development”. This is the 1.3 mile 12′ wide concrete “community development” sidewalk, which is called a “hike and bike trail”, being approved by the mayor and city council, and one can see the funding sources are the CDC and TxDOT’s Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP). The city calls concrete sidewalks “trails”. It is not clear how one gets on the “trail” with a “bike” starting at New Clark Road but it is certain with tax money a way will be found.
Here is a list of the possible visions someone at the city of Cedar Hill had, and again, as always, this includes the concept “build it and they will come”.
1) This giant sidewalk is in the long range planning for the City Center. See the City Center menu item. The “trail” needs a trail head. Right now there is none at least for “bikes”. The sidewalk coming down from the 300 apartment site at FM 1382 and Straus Road, approved for development by the mayor and city council on January 24, 2017, is so narrow that it would be a suicide mission riding a “bike” down the hill against 50 mph head-on traffic on FM 1382. However, if the city had started up the hill with the project, it would have been obvious what they were doing. So, maybe the plan is to complete the 1.3 mile “trail” first and run the “trail” from the apartment site down FM 1382 later.
2) The entire project is something to bail out Audubon at Dogwood Canyon and Cedar Hill state park. Both are somewhat of flops. Phase 2 of the “trail” boondoggle is to extend the 12′ wide sidewalk up to the Joe Pool dam overlook along the boundary of FM 1382 with the city of Dallas. Joggers and “bikers” from even as far away as South Grand Prairie could come across the Joe Pool dam from Lake Ridge Parkway and up to the state park and Audubon. Maybe those people will come fulfilling the city’s motto: Build it and they will come.
3) Maybe this is just another project to accommodate the pelotonistas, those who ride bikes in professional cyclists outfit in a formation of a pseudo-peloton.
4) And, inadvertently it may become a skateboard heaven.
5) In some way all of the above.
The city has enough private property owners’ tax money to build such speculative ventures no matter how useless they are to the current city of Cedar Hill private property owner taxpayers.
One would have to ask the city staff, the mayor and city council, the CDC, or the parks and recreation department and board what the vision was.
The parks and recreation board is a rubber stamp for “headquarters”, including other outside entities. They make a show of looking at what is suggested by these others, and then pass it along, often at the expense of private property owner’s property values, which is of little interest to them. They often live in areas that will not be affected by what they approve. The most important people to them are the great anonymous commons from far and wide.
Below the city council agenda is a TxDOT explanation of the TEP. It is a stretch for TxDOT to call a 12′ wide concrete sidewalk “transportation enhancement”, but this is the way the government works. The city goes to your pocket for funding and then again to your pocket, through the state, for TxDOT funding. The city applied for funds through the TEP. The TxDOT has thrown in about $1,000,000 for this “transportation enhancement” and the city has provided $1,695,499.46. This giant concrete sidewalk is quite expensive with no known purpose.
By the way, as a part of the project there is to be a traffic light installed at the state park entrance. No traffic study was performed in order to justify this light. Someone put this in possibly as a “buddy” deal.
The real need for a traffic light is at the old Northwood entrance, where vehicles coming and going from the Newman International Academy, a charter school owning and occupying the Northwood campus now, cause traffic congestion. That light has a traffic study but is a part of another project.