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Royse City Council Member Place 1 Charles Houk resigned from city council to accept his new position as Royse City Community Development Corporation Director at last week’s council meeting.

The council accepted Houk’s resignation letter at the meeting and he took on his new role as CDC director Aug. 29, succeeding Larry Lott. 

“We originally started out with 55 applicants and we narrowed it down,” Lott told the council Tuesday night. “A couple of weeks ago we actually had interviews and from those we picked our own Charles Houk to succeed me as the executive director of the CDC.”

Mayor Janet Nichol read Houk’s resignation letter aloud before the council voted on accepting it. 

“I’m grateful for having had the opportunity to serve on this council since 2015 and I'm very excited to move into my new role as director of the Royse City Community Development Corporation,” Houk wrote in the letter. 

Council members approved the signing of a contract for architect services on a new fire station. The city will move forward on signing with Brinkley, Sargent, Wiginton Architects, Inc. to provide architectural services, civil engineering, platting and similar development services for a cost of $474,574. A contract for concept plans for a fire department and police station was approved in January with BSW Architects.

In the following item, tied to the development of the fire station, the council approved the city manager sign with Core Construction to act as the construction manager-at risk, involving a commitment by the construction manager to finish the project with a Guaranteed Maximum Price. Core Construction has built fire stations for cities including cities in the North Texas area. 

“This will be the next step in constructing the fire station, we sent out a request for proposals for construction manager-at risk meaning they are at-risk for any cost overruns that may occur,” City Manager Carl Alsabrook told council members. 

The council approved a development agreement with Hines Acquisitions, LLC. for development at Creekside after a lengthy discussion in executive session. A representative from the company gave a presentation before the council before the members went to discuss the agreement.

Mayor Nichol and a couple of council members asked about the proposed amenities for the development, as they had done in an earlier council meeting when the plan for Creekside was presented. The concern expressed at the meeting was that the developer would put off the construction of the center - an issue she and the council are looking to avoid. 

“Really what we’re going to do here in Creekside is build an amenity-rich environment,” Dustin Davidson with Hines Acquisitions, LLC.

He further said the developer will construct eight of the 12 amenities, adding that the rest of the amenities would be determined later according to what residents might want in the future. 

“Once again these are minimums,” Davidson said. “If we already build eight and someone says ‘Hey we really want bocce ball,’ we’re going to bring bocce ball.”

The approved project will consist of about 1,300 single family houses on approximately 194 acres in Hunt and Collin counties that will proceed in four phases along County Road 677 and County Road 678 with an entrance along Highway 66, all in the northern part of Royse City’s extraterritorial jurisdiction area.

“Our first phase consists of about 400 lots,” Davidson said. “We put together a well capitalized development that’s going to survive any ups and downs in the market.” 

During his presentation, Davidson also said the development will include “J-swing” driveways, citing Council Member Tom Crowley’s suggestions from an earlier council meeting. 

The Community Development Corporation’s budget for fiscal year 2019-2020 was approved by the council following a presentation by now former director Larry Lott. 

The approved CDC budget lists total estimated expenses for fiscal year 2019-2020 at $813,950, which includes $400,000 in incentives for businesses that might be interested in opening in Royse City. Lott noted that although $400,00 was budgeted for incentives, the funds might not be used entirely as they had not been in the current fiscal year.

“We did not spend the $400,000, we spent $186,000,” he said. “We were under budget in excess of $200,000 on expenses primarily due to the fact that we didn’t spend $400,000 in incentives as we thought we might. That’s always a number that we’re not sure of at the beginning of the year.”

He also said that the CDC might use more of the allotted $400,000 in incentives on the books that could be closed in the coming year, bringing the expenditures to $813,950. The projected revenue for the coming year is just more than $1.1 million. The projected surplus for fiscal year 2020 is $290,519.22. 

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