White Oak development slowly paying debt to Polk County of more than $160k

Published 3:52 pm Monday, March 28, 2011

Recent payments made for water line, taxes
White Oak Partners development company is slowly chipping away at its debt to Polk County for water line construction costs and back taxes. Currently that debt stands at $162,245.
The developers made a $5,000 payment toward the water line debt and a $10,000 payment toward 2010 taxes last Friday, March 25.
Polk County sued White Oak last July for not completing payment for a water line the county ran to the development, located in Green Creek. In September 2010, Polk gave White Oak until January 2011 to answer the lawsuit, a deadline the developers failed to meet.
As of yesterday, White Oak owes the county $46,493 in 2010 taxes. Polk County Tax Collector Melissa Bowlin said White Oak made an agreement when paying off the 2009 taxes to make monthly $10,000 payments until the taxes are paid in full.
White Oak officials also say they will continue to make payments to the county for the water line until the balance is paid. Following the $5,000 payment made last week, White Oak still owes the county $115,752 for the water line.
“A partial payment was made on the water line obligation today (3/25) and White Oak intends to continue to make payments until the balance is satisfied,” said White Oak’s attorney, Phillip Feagan.
Polk County Manager Ryan Whitson said the county intends to work with developers as long as payments continue to be made.
“As long as they continue to make substantial payments, the county will work with them,” said Whitson.
The approximately 2-mile water line was completed in the fall of 2009, with the total balance being due then. The total cost of the water line was $359,505, which the county paid for out of its fund balance.
White Oak originally paid for half of the costs and has struggled with payments since, sometimes going months without making any payments toward the debt.
The county, prior to filing the lawsuit, agreed to allow White Oak to make payments over a five-month period, but White Oak failed to meet the obligation.
White Oak developer Justin Kinsella said last year that the developers understand the county’s position and White Oak is working to resolve the matter as soon as possible.
The water line extension came off Polk County’s main water line that runs through Green Creek and connects the Broad River Water Authority to the Inman-Campobello Water District in South Carolina. White Oak’s water line runs from the Hwy. 14 and Hwy. 9 intersection down Sandy Plains Road to the development.
White Oak is a proposed subdivision and golf course on approximately 1,000 acres with plans for nature trails, community greens and gathering spaces, a golf course/clubhouse, vineyard, equestrian center, a lake with fishing areas, village center, gatehouse, tennis facility and a celestial observatory.

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