Aldermen say they want to help a developer in his efforts to build homes in Westlakes subdivision, but they want to make certain there is enough escrow money to complete subdivision improvements.

Recent estimates determined that it will cost between $30,000 to $40,000 to build streets and complete subdivision improvements. The city is holding enough in escrow at present to do the work, but if several years lapse before the work is done, increased cost may mean there won’t be enough money, said City Administrator Harold Selby.

The new developer wants a “development agreement” with the city to build homes on lots it owns in the subdivision and he wants the city to continue to hold the escrow money and put in the streets when they are needed.

The problem the city faces, according to City Attorney Dan Vogel, is that the developer wants a building permit to construct homes on lots where streets are already in. He wants to hold off building on lots where streets have not been built until the first lots are sold.

The city wants him to sign a successor developer agreement on the subdivision, guaranteeing that he will build out the streets when he is ready to construct homes on them, or put enough money in escrow so they can be built.

Vogel suggested that the city needs a timeframe on when the streets would be built. If the city holds money for years and years building costs will go up and there won’t be enough to complete the streets, Vogel reiterated.

“The question is does the board want to put in a time limit when streets have to go in or put in more money?” he asked.

The city can’t close out a subdivision until streets, curbs, gutters and sidewalks are in, Vogel said.

Aldermen said the developer would either have to put up more escrow or sign an agreement that he will build the streets.

City Administrator Harold Selby asked aldermen to postpone action to give him time to meet with the developer.

“I think I have an idea on what you guys want,” Selby said. “By the next meeting I think we’ll be able to bring back something that he and you can live with.”