Milton council seeks smaller projects for Granary funding

First tranche of money expected to be $1.5 million
August 1, 2023

While no decisions have been made yet, Milton Town Council is choosing to focus on smaller municipal projects as it discusses future funding coming from the Granary at Draper Farms special development district.

At a July 24 workshop, council began hashing out what it would like to see done using what is expected to be $1.5 million in funds available through the special tax, in which the town would issue bonds to help cover infrastructure related to the Granary development. The town would be paid back via a special tax that would be levied on residents of the Granary for a limited period of time. John Stalfort, representing Granary developer Convergence Communities, said the town could expect three bond issues over the phased construction lifespan of the project, expected to be around 20 years. 

Stalfort said the first bond issuance would come not long after groundbreaking – eyed for 2024 – with subsequent bond issuances in 2030 and 2035. 

All told, those bond issuances would result in up to $5 million in revenue that the town would have at its disposal for infrastructure projects, whether within the Granary or outside the development. The town’s full faith and credit is not on the line, and Convergence is still responsible for paying a performance bond to ensure the main infrastructure, such as roads, is funded even if the developer becomes insolvent.

Improvements that can be funded by the special tax include storm drain systems, water and sewer, streets, sidewalks, lighting, parking, parks and recreation facilities, schools, transit facilities, and machinery and equipment. The main benefits to the district include additional tax revenue on top of property taxes should the development be successful, providing a secure source of financing at the onset of development for the installation of public infrastructure, and ensuring that the development pays its own way through instead of relying on the town to install infrastructure. The special development district would be administered by an independent contractor, which would be paid out of the special taxes.

What the council members found during the July 24 meeting was that the funding will come with more strings attached than they originally thought. Council members were aware that projects within the Granary would be 100% funded, while those outside the development could be 33% funded by the tax revenue. 

However, Convergence Project Manager Mariah Underhill told council that the qualification for projects funded in the Granary are that it benefits residents of the Granary only. Thus, ideas council discussed such as a public works facility or a police substation within the Granary would only be 33% funded because they would also benefit non-Granary residents. In addition, council has to spend the money raised by the special development district within three years or it reverts back to Convergence.

Mayor John Collier said one of the difficulties in planning to use the money is that Convergence has not yet presented a site plan for the first phase of development; the project is proposed to be built in 10 phases. While he acknowledged that 33% funding was a good starting point, Collier said a problem is coming up with the other 66% for a larger project within the three-year timeline.

With that knowledge, Councilwoman Randi Meredith suggested council look at smaller projects, such as new street lighting, road repair work and bathrooms in Memorial Park. Town Manager Kristy Rogers said other ideas could include a street sweeper and new lawn care equipment. Councilman Scotty Edler said his priorities would include street and sidewalk repair. 

With their sights now set smaller, Collier asked council members to think about prioritizing projects for the next time council holds discussion on the matter. It is not yet decided whether that discussion will come at council’s next regular meeting Monday, Aug. 7 or at another workshop-style meeting.


Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter