An agreement between Sherman and developers of a new 620-acre development hit a snag Monday night, when the council voted to table an amendment. Members of the council expressed confusion over an agreement for the improvement of Moore Street amid questions regarding $15 million in possible reimbursements.
The original agreement between the city and Munson Realty was put in place on July 1 and outlined the details of the widening of Moore Street into a four-lane, divided roadway. Monday’s modified agreement attempted to clarify that the city would be responsible for constructing the first phase of work, including a drainage pond with an estimated value of $2.5 million.
“We need to be careful in negotiating incentives and setting a precedent because we are very early into this period of growth,” council member Shawn Teamann said.
The improvements to Moore Street are a part of the city’s master streets plan, and the street is expected to serve as a major connector for the new Sherman High School site once it is completed.The roadway will also serve as a major thoroughfare for The Village, a multi-use development adjacent to the new Sherman High School site that is being developed by Munson Realty. The drainage pond, referred to as pond 1 during the meeting, will meet drainage needs for both the school site and the future development.
Teamann was the first to bring up concerns with the modified agreement. Specifically, Teamann addressed the reimbursement costs and a 3 percent project management fee, which he said he had not seen in previous versions of the agreement.
In an interview following the meeting, Teamann said many of the points he had concern with related to language that was in previous versions or discussions, but appeared to be outdated based on other agreements.
Monday’s agreement included a provision that the city would dedicate up to $15 million for “the construction and installation of public facilities” as a part of the Moore Street project. However, the first phase, which will construct the western lanes of the roadway, is estimated to cost $2.5 million.
Teamann said he believes this language dates back to talks about incentives for the project. However, the city resolved the matter of incentives last month when it issued a letter of intent stating that Sherman would be willing to negotiate with individual developers for incentives rather than issuing a blanket decree.
City Manager Robby Hefton said the intent of the reimbursements was to allow developers to recoup some of the expenses for engineering and other services that were previously done that relate more to the infrastructure work the city is currently pursuing.
Teamann also expressed concern to what he felt were changes to previous versions of the document. In prior conversations, Teamann said city officials discussed offering a reimbursement for 3 percent of the project cost for out-of-pocket costs.
However, this appears to have been replaced with a 3 percent management fee and a reimbursement that did not appear to have a cap, he said.
The concerns were mirrored by multiple members of the council, who ultimately voted to table the agreement to allow city staff time to clarify it.
“We are all in favor, it is just that I think, with as much clarification as you are having to do with us tonight, maybe we need to take a breath just long enough to look at it so we feel comfortable,” council member Pam Howeth said.
In October, the council approved setting an end completion date of Dec. 31, 2020 for the project. Regardless of the end outcome of agreement negotiations, city officials said the project will continue to move forward as scheduled as it was included in the city’s street plan.