Monday, July 6, 2009
Help Me Howard: 595 & House
Have you ever watched a government agency at work and said, I have an idea that could save them money and save the taxpayers money. One man had an idea, but his question, can the state be legally required to accept his idea? To find out, he turned to Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.
WSVN -- Aaron Goodwin had an idea.
Aaron Goodwin: "They were all extraordinarily well built."
He has a two-bedroom house he needs to sell.
Aaron Goodwin: "Replaced all doors, all tiles, appliances, counter tops, plumbing, electrical outlets."
At the same time, the state of Florida has a road they are going to expand.
Aaron Goodwin: "Put your people here. Let them live where the residents live during this construction."
Aaron's townhouse is right off 595, which is about to undergo a billion dollar expansion. His home also sits near a golf course that will be flooded with excess water from the road project. Great spot he thought, for the people running the road project.
Aaron Goodwin: "If they have to live here, then they will get a great understanding of exactly the impact they are going to put on the Davie community."
The 595 project is being built by a company out of Spain. As their video shows, the five-year-long expansion will be massive and employ hundreds of workers.
Aaron Goodwin: "The cost of traveling, engineers, crew, surveyors, they are all going to be put in hotels for five years."
Instead of putting people in hotels, Aaron says, buy a few homes like his in this depressed housing market. Save money on hotels and in five years, when the housing market is better, sell them and make money.
Aaron Goodwin: "This is an outside the box idea. If there is a reason they are not doing it, I would just like to hear the reason."
Aaron then pitched his idea to everyone he could think of, starting at the top.
Aaron Goodwin: "The governor's office was very helpful. They forwarded it on. The Department of Transportation was fast to respond and more than happy to forward it on."
And the idea to save the people building 595 money and save taxpayers from foreclosure kept getting forwarded on.
Aaron Goodwin: "So, apparently this has been forwarded on and forwarded on. As to where it got forwarded to I just don't know."
Well, Howard, can the state require contractors on this project or any road project to buy a few cheap houses to put some of their people in?
Howard Finkelstein: "This is a very good idea. It can save the state money, and the State can legally require it, but they have to put it in the contract before it is signed. This contract is already finalized, so the State can't force the contractors to buy homes in that area."
I got in contact with the 595 spokesperson who told me that it's a public/private partnership building the road, that they don't supply housing to workers, that most will be local and those from out of town have already left their hotels and bought houses or rented them. She offered to send the information about Aaron's house to human resources in case any more employees were looking for a place to live, and Howard says it's time for the State to start thinking like Aaron as well.
Howard Finkelstein: "In these tough economic times, where budgets are being slashed, it's going to require creative thinking and different approaches like this, so we can stretch our tax dollars and hopefully avoid raising taxes."
If a contractor buys Aaron's house, they will get a great deal, and he will be eternally grateful.
Aaron Goodwin: "It would absolutely save me the embarrassment and the humiliation of foreclosure. It would stop the financial bleeding out of my account."
Aaron would love to sell that house, and since construction on 595 gets started next month, maybe he can find a last-minute buyer. As for his idea, it's a good lesson for government officials. When money is scarce, good ideas are priceless.
Seem like you are on the road to ruin? Want to construct a concrete solution? The way is paved to us. We don't have a billion dollar budget, but we don't need it because our answers are free.