Bartlesville is experiencing a housing boom

Thursday, December 22nd 2005, 6:11 am
By: News On 6

The race is on in one Green Country town to get ready for a wave of new families. Conoco Phillips is moving hundreds of employees to Bartlesville, but there aren't enough available homes ready for moving day.

News on 6 anchor Craig Day says Bartlesville is taking steps to spur a building boom.

It doesn't look like much now, but in the next year, these piles of dirt and stacks of concrete will make way for a new neighborhood. Bartlesville city leaders can't wait for new residents. Bartlesville mayor Julie Daniels: "We have a very bustling city and we want them all to live here."

The city hopes for as many as 700 new homes across Bartlesville to accommodate more employees expected at Conoco Phillips. The company is transferring 500 employees from Houston to Bartlesville next year and more in 2007.

There are nearly two dozen new neighborhoods either in the works or the planning stages in Bartlesville. The city has worked to speed up the permitting process and has also entered into public-private partnership with some builders.

The partnership is called a TIF or tax increment finance district. It's basically where the city comes up with funds to pay for infrastructure like streets instead of developers. Then the city's investment is made back through taxes on the higher valued property over several years. Julie Daniels: "You ask the taxing entities, which in our case are the school, the county, Tri-County Tech Center and the county health department to forego the increase in ad valorem tax revenues for a period of years to pay off the public infrastructure."

Guy Sutherland headed up a housing committee. He says the agreements enable developers to get to work more quickly. "We haven't had enough housing in the price range of around $100,000 and $225,000. So the purpose of the public financing to assist the projects is to jumpstart that."

A jumpstart city leaders say is needed to make sure that when newcomers arrive, Bartlesville will be ready.

The city is holding an information fair at ConocoPhillips in Houston in January. Bartlesville will send relocation information, including details about available housing, churches and schools.