Developers sometimes end up with a lot of power in the communities where they change the population structure. In Texas, that situation sometimes goes to extremes. The Dallas Morning News is reporting on a few examples where developers were able to obtain power over taxes in whole communities, by holding elections in the affected locations when only a few voters lived there. (For the full Dallas Morning News report, see: "One-man votes form districts that give developers millions in taxing power," by Reese Dunklin.)
"One man, said to be living in a trailer on 600 acres of Collin County farm land, cast the single vote this month to give a developer taxing power," the paper reports. "The developer, who needed $63 million to build a subdivision, put the trailer there. The voter, who has a home miles away in McKinney, began renting the trailer shortly before the election. Meanwhile in Dallas, another one-man election this month decided whether a developer would get taxing power to finance a $700 million office-retail project. The person casting the ballot was the 24-year-old son of a vice president at the developer's company. The company owned the home where he was, at least on paper, living. You can probably guess how that turned out."
Reporter Reese Durklin, who filed this week's story in the Morning News, first reported on the practice back in 2001, and he says residents of the newly minted communities he wrote about back then now pay unusually high property taxes. Writes Dunklin: "If you're living in one of these districts now, I'd be interested to know how it's operating these days. You can email me at email@example.com or leave a comment.