It has not been long since I wrote about the Avalon Park Daytona plan.
The idea was that the developer would build the roads he needs, and then take the property taxes to pay for it. The County Council was expected to go along with this plan to divert property taxes in order to fund developer profits.
However, since I started on that, new information has arrived. No, not that the developer would pay with his own money. Ha, ha. Good one, but no. No one even suggests such a thing.
In fact, what came out was that the developer’s $75 million estimate, to be repaid with our property-tax money, was woefully inadequate.
I am trying to find some reason to be surprised that the developer is giving a lowball estimate for the public subsidy he wants.
The planned road improvements would be:
• Tomoka Bridge, $17 million;
• Hand Avenue (over I-95), $50 million;
• Tymber Creek, $50 million; and
• Widen State Road 40, $50 million.
I used estimates by Ghyabi Consulting. I know little of pricing roads, while they do this stuff for a living.
Once you start tearing things up, you cannot stop: A half-built bridge over I-95 is an invitation for disaster. Or, I guess, for fiscal disaster, where the public has to step in and pay to finish the job.
Well, I suppose you could just leave the cones and Jersey barriers scattered along I-95, but that seems like an unsafe practice.
When one of the trucks hauling the developer’s money back down to Orlando hits a barrier, there will be a real mess. Some people will be scooping up money, even as others try to reopen the highway.
So, we must pay $75 million in bond principal and another $75 million in interest before we get to the other $92 million to finish the roads. That is going to hurt.
Add it up, assume no more interest, assume no overruns, and divide it out. Every man, woman and child in Volusia must chip in $437.39 for his or her share.
Not only is the developer selling a low price, he is also promoting an interesting schedule. Building starts this winter. First residents arrive in 2022, with roads done in 2025.
I am not so sure this plan will work out well, but I know what the developer is thinking — he will still be two counties away, unaffected by the mess.
— Andrews is a DeLand-area attorney and a longtime government critic. For purposes of the column, he finds it convenient that there is so much government to criticize.