LOCAL VOICES: Developer gave good-faith estimates

Mary C. Sherwood CPA Cold Creek Devlopment Company Ltd. I am writing
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

Mary C. Sherwood CPA

Cold Creek Devlopment Company Ltd.

I am writing in response to the headline statement in the Sandusky Register that Cold Creek Crossing residents were "lied to" by the developer. Cold Creek Development Co. made every effort to have an accurate good faith estimate of the cost of infrastructure at Cold Creek Crossing. Even though the streets were completed in the spring of 2004 the city of Sandusky has yet to provide the development company the final cost of the interest, legal, and overhead that they are adding to the project cost, the necessary elements for an accurate estimate.

The management of the city has changed twice and there has been a change in city engineer since this project started. The original concept was not for the city to use this project as a means to improve the city bottom line. The role of the city was to offer low-cost financing for the benefit of the residents investing in the community.

Sandusky's original commitment letter dated Nov. 21, 2001, estimates the cost of the streets to be $1.95 million The city revised this estimate to about $2.3 million in October 2003. The city sent out bills to property owners Aug. 7, 2008, for about $2.86 million When the developer prepared the good faith estimate the City financing rate was 1 percent as documented on page fifty of the 2003 Sandusky Comprehensive Annual Financial Report.

The Erie County Auditor office also used this development as an opportunity to improve the county bottom line. In January of 2004 they increased the value of the vacant single-family lots by $1.7 million In January 2004 the auditors office increased the value of the lots again this time by 50 percent another $934,920. The auditor has the value of the lots valued higher than the sales price of the single family lots. The developer was denied remedy by the board of revision.

The actions by our local government send a clear message to developers looking at Sandusky for potential development opportunities. Developers put their projects in communities that offer financial and tax assistance for the long-term benefit of the residents.

I would like to add that the title company has no responsibility for the accuracy of the infrastructure estimate. The responsibility of the title company is to adhere to the purchase agreement. The language in the purchase agreement is very clear in regards to the assessment and the good faith estimate.

I would welcome the opportunity to review the final numbers from the city when they become available. I will also make myself available for any inquiries.