28 November 2018

A Happy Wednesday Morning Memo from MB: What's the Word Around Town? What's Coming Down the Track? How many Apartments Does Covington Really Need?

Oh...hey, didn't see you there. How's everything? Good, I hope. It's always a pleasure to see you.

So, what's the good word? Hell if I know. I'm just out here going with the flow, trying to let the high times carry the low & hoping to keep the bills paid while doing my best to keep it all from unraveling. It's never easy. It seems as if many of us, no matter how much we work & make, are just barely putting it together. And at what cost? We're all so busy, aren't we? As many have written about over the years, that's exactly how they like it. And who is they? Well...look, if you got to ask, then don't even worry about it...

I oftentimes think about that time Bill Clinton was addressing a ballroom full of prominent bankers, hedge fund managers & the usual assorted cast of influence peddlers, power elite types, et al a few years back. I don't know if Slick Willy was off his meds that day, or if his "Give-a-F#ck-a-meter" was broken or whatever, but he basically told this assembled group something along the lines of how the people (We The People) would have the flames & pitchforks out preparing for the mass hangings if they really knew what was going on in America (This is America!). He's right, you know. What was the dollar amount each & every taxpayer in America would have gotten if they'd spent the money from the bailouts, TARP I & II on a tax refund to us instead? I want to say it was right around $250,000 per taxpayer. You think that could have "fundamentally transformed" our society? Prolly.

Slick Willy, better than Bush 43, Obama...and Trump?

The Great Bamboozle, as Carl Sagan would have said. My word...

But hey, that's just crazy talk, right? Ole MB at it again! Y'all know me!

So let's get serious, shall we?

A rare spotting of WTC in the wild

I'm investigating two new Wm Thomas Craig stories. One of these could really, really be big & paint Craig in a very bad light. But, I repeat myself. And just in the nick of time, I'd say. It looks like the old fella is getting back on top, just like you knew that he would! I suppose with those Ezell NCSO dollars, Tommy's finally been able to get some work done to the ole law office there on College Ave. Repairs to & replacement of the falling & rotten pieces. Sanded. Repainted. It's looking real nice. And that's good, because I mean, seriously, it was looking like crap. It was getting so bad that I was wondering if the city might condemn it. Maybe move the historical house & put a parking deck there. I wonder is he still owes the IRS approx a million dollars? But what about those Corinthian columns on the place, though? Just glorious!

The place doesn't look like a dump anymore!

I'm also still working on a 2nd report on the JC Henderson/Nelson Heights thing that I wrote about some time back.

And! Within the next few weeks - look for a report on the Covington Stormwater bills. This is a scam possibly on par with fractional reserve banking, my friends. Look for it soon! 

In terms of the rest of this particular week, you'll definitely be seeing Perrin's usual weekly CF Floyd Feature Writer of National Affairs contribution as well as Ms. Bess's "Memoirs of Surviving Children." Also, for the first time in a pretty good while, you'll be getting a "Marshall's Music Minute" at the end of the week. I'm pretty pumped about that. And moving forward, whether it's in the Minute or "Kayla's Corner," you can pretty much count on getting that 411 on live music on a weekly basis from here on out. Huzzah! But hey, speaking of Kayla - where she at? Look for a post later today about that, friends.

C-town Representin': All.The.Apartments. Edition

Per a report I received from a source from a communique they purportedly received from a Clark's Grove homeowner, the city has yet another apartment complex on its hands. This one right across the street from the aforementioned subdivision. Apparently in the realm of 200 units.

That's on top of the city's apparent F-up from a couple  years back that enabled Harry Kitchens to get 350 units in over at the Alcovy Rd development before any commercial, freehold residential, or office space gets built. And that's on top of the supposed 55+ apartments that were just approved by the city council (by a 6 to 0 vote, mind you; the Covington Planning Commission voted unanimously to DENY it.)

Based on a conversation I had some time back, there were a total of SIX multifamily developments that had either started the permitting process, or were preparing to. I guess this would be three of those six...

For a city that is as out of whack, in terms of tax base, as any city of its size in Georgia, and for a city that already has a 60% tenant-to-homeowner ratio (well above the state & national average), it seems as if the city is going - All In - on multifamily.

So, what is the why here? 

If you listen to those who are on the front line of this phenomenon, folks like our Mayor, Mr. Ronnie Johnston, and others, they seem to truly believe that with the Three Ring Studios, the Stanton Springs development (Baxter, Baxalta Shire; the 100 jobs that will come online with the reported $42 billion dollar FB project - making it the most expensive building ever built in the history of Earth), and other developments, that the city will need to increase the number of residents of our fair town by upwards of 20% while pushing us more towards a 75% tenant-to-homeowner ratio, because, well...the millennials! They don't want the American Dream anymore, apparently. They just want to rent, or something. But remember this, friends: it's all about what the market will bear. And basic economics - supply & demand. Obviously there are developers out there who think they will get good absorption rates & future rates of return on these developments. So, there's your demand. And with the current zoning & master plan, there's a lot of supply when it comes to this sort of thing apparently. Maybe the time has come for the city to limit the supply. And what about the supply & demand relationship as it pertains to the actual units? Is the demand out there to add upwards of a thousand rental units in the home city? Personally, I think we should do what Porterdale is doing, and have the planning commission go through all of the zoning ordinances with a fine tooth comb & look at making some major changes.

It seems to be a pretty big gamble by some. Maybe it's all going to come together, but I can see things completely falling apart. There are so many factors. The national economy, for starters. Are we right on the precipice of another recession? With Kemp's victory, will Georgia continue, in the same manner, to be the "Hollywood of the South?" With Facebook's growing public relations issues, ever-decreasing users & advertisers, and continuing loss of profitability, is this data center really going to be this big, huge thing? This huge thing that will provide 100 jobs? But some will tell you that there's this data out there that will show how these 100 jobs will lead to X number of other jobs. Meh...

We've got some big elections coming up in less that 12 months here in the home city. It WILL be a referendum on how all the things previously mentioned, and then several others, turn out. And hey, it may very well go either way. Who knows? We shall see...

Make no mistake about it - the 2019 municipal elections WILL be a referendum on Mr. Mayor

Alright, then. As always, thanks for reading. Until next time.

Your friend,