Candidates Forum

5,592 Views | 66 Replies | Last: 11 days ago by techno-ag
gus1390
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AG
http://wtaw.com/2019/10/21/bryan-college-station-chamber-of-commerce-candidates-forum-held-monday-night/

I'm curious on opinions of others who may have watched the candidates forum last night.
EliteElectric
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There are huge aptitude disparities between candidates
www.elitellp.net
happyinBCS
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Please don't vote for Lord Crompton unless you want a lot more trees planted in highway medians
UmustBKidding
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Unfortunately Lord Crompton talks a better game than Rektorik and may even be the driver of Elite's statement. But more eloquent and even "smarter" is not necessarily the best choice in Government. I remember him commenting after a failed bond election that the citizens of College Station don't know what good for them. Well I for one think the residents know what they want and don't need him injecting his expertise to correct the nonsense the citizens desire. Unfortunately with the current crew's strategy of using certificates of obligations to avoid having the voters involved with bonds to cram unpopular and ill advised projects down the citizens throat will mesh well with his expertise. This is how we ended up with Maloney and his known track record instead of someone sincere about representing and voting the desire of the people in the last cycle.

So I for one recommend voting for anyone but Lord Crompton, implementing single member council districts, one and done term limits and only naming buildings and parks after dead people!




Rexter
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Does going to a district council require a charter change? If that were put to the voters, I bet it would pass.
happyinBCS
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Spot on
crbongos
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AG
Crompton wants to charge HOmebuilders (ie new residences) $15,000 more per new home built. When he was on council they already approved $7,500 impact fee on any new home built. That would mean $22,500 for every new home built. That's before land cost. In Bryan, and most all other communities that fee is zero. Since the impact fees building permits in CS have gone down dramatically in CS and up in Bryan. Bryan now builds about 100 more homes a year than CS. So if you only want the elite to build in CS then vote Crompton. It's sad. He says he wants development to pay for itselfwell that won't happen. Even with these crazy fees they only represent maybe 20% of actual cost. If you want a $22,500 impact fee go to California. See how that works.
CRBongo
oklaunion
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Wasn't Rektorik the only member a few weeks ago to vote against the CS property tax rate increase?
MisterShipWreck
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UmustBKidding said:

Unfortunately Lord Crompton talks a better game than Rektorik and may even be the driver of Elite's statement. But more eloquent and even "smarter" is not necessarily the best choice in Government. I remember him commenting after a failed bond election that the citizens of College Station don't know what good for them. Well I for one think the residents know what they want and don't need him injecting his expertise to correct the nonsense the citizens desire. Unfortunately with the current crew's strategy of using certificates of obligations to avoid having the voters involved with bonds to cram unpopular and ill advised projects down the citizens throat will mesh well with his expertise. This is how we ended up with Maloney and his known track record instead of someone sincere about representing and voting the desire of the people in the last cycle.

So I for one recommend voting for anyone but Lord Crompton, implementing single member council districts, one and done term limits and only naming buildings and parks after dead people!




You da man for sure!
momlaw
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AG
Rektorik and Vessali voted against tax increase.
Rektorik has explained the passed budget did not require tax increase to cover.

The CSAN supported members voted for tax increase.
momlaw
mgreen
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I was at the library for this. If you have time, listen to the link for the Bryan mayor's race. Scott Delucia and mayor Nelson are to he commended for keeping their composure. It was funny for the rest of us.
lost my dog
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crbongos said:

Crompton wants to charge HOmebuilders (ie new residences) $15,000 more per new home built. When he was on council they already approved $7,500 impact fee on any new home built. That would mean $22,500 for every new home built. That's before land cost. In Bryan, and most all other communities that fee is zero. Since the impact fees building permits in CS have gone down dramatically in CS and up in Bryan. Bryan now builds about 100 more homes a year than CS. So if you only want the elite to build in CS then vote Crompton. It's sad. He says he wants development to pay for itselfwell that won't happen. Even with these crazy fees they only represent maybe 20% of actual cost. If you want a $22,500 impact fee go to California. See how that works.
I own a home in College Station already. I have no plans to move anytime soon.

1) Explain to me why I should care about a fee applied to new homes.

2) The impact fee should go to paying for the infrastructure extended to new developments. If there is no impact fee my taxes/utility fees will have to go up to pay for this new infrastructure. I get no benefit from this new infrastructure (I already have a road to my house and sewer service.) Explain to me why I should pay for the infrastructure to someone else's house.

You say these fees represent only 20% of the actual costs. Well, why not raise them then to 100%? You seem to argue that this pushes development into Bryan. What is the problem with that? Bryan needs the tax base. I think improving Bryan to the level of College Station would be good for both communities.

California has many issues with housing beyond impact fees. For example zoning in San Francisco prohibits high rise buildings. Go to Northgate and see our brand-new high rises. We also aren't land-limited by a bay and ocean; we can sprawl all the way from Snook to Iola if we want to.
Drilltime
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There is a good detailed explanation of the $ 15000 fee on Crompton's web site. This is the total allowed fee and the $7500 would be part of it. They do not add. The reality is that he would not get the entire fee, but there probably would be a few thousand dollar bump. The reason we need the fee is that we can't pay the bills. About 40% of all property tax now goes to paying debt service. And we are told there's another $300 M of unfunded liabilities in the pipeline that our current tax won't cover. Virtually all of this comes from providing servicesor infrastructure to new growth we are not asking the developers to pay for. The $15000 isn't even the full cost. State law recognizes that the new residents will create value in the future so impact fees are only allowed to be 50% of the total city cost. The problem is that the city has to pay now, all at once. When you have such rapid growth you simply end up with a math problem. That's where we are and in one way or another we have to pay.

Another aspect of this is that subsidizing the developer is not the same thing as subsidizing a home owner. My guess is that developers charges what the market bares, so who actually gets the money?. Do they reduce the home prices to $ 15000 below market value? If you charge a higher fee do the sale at 15 000 above market. I'm ot a de elope but I dont think it worked like that when we bought a house.

Yet another issue that's more important to me is that we now have large areas of 50 year old homes that should be turning over to young people buying starter homes and they aren't I think there are several reasons but a contributing factor imay be the larege subsidy of new homes. Is this fair. The cost of these neighborhoods not turning over and decaying cascade. We've already lost the children from the older neighborhoods, which has forced us to invest in more distant schools and pay higher school tax. We are keeping the older schools open by making them all magnets, but they are underpopulated and students ha e to come from distant neighborhoods. I think the scheme is political and not sustainable. And subsidizing urban sprawl is only going to create higher ternsportation infrastructure cost in a few years, and yet more taxes.

But wait, there's more. If I'm one of the 1100 members of the Chamber of Commerce I'm not too happy about subsudizing new residential growth either because on average my property value and tax ar twice residential. I pay more of the load. And the city is not just subsidizing new houses, but the new businesses in the same new areas. We are helping new businesses at the same time we are making the old ones pay. Some of this is normal, but when the rate of growth is high we simply cant afford to e so generous with it.

Nobody is asking new development to pay all costs, just something less than 50%. That's the part the state figures it will never repay over its entire life. In all fairness to other tax payers, that's the part I would think I should pay if I bought a house. Why shouldn't new development pay at least 50% of its cost?

Impact fees are needed but they won't actually fix the majority of the debt problem. We are simply not attracting enough tax paying industry. Residential always losses money and commercial always pays enough to make up for it. A solvent city must maintain that balance. In our case the residential is being created by growth of the university, but the university pays no property taxes. Our new residents do not work for a company that pays the amount of tax most cities can expect from the employer who brought the new resident. We have a permanent structural problem with this type of growth and the most logical path out of increasing debt its creating is to do a much better job of leveraging the high paying knowledge industry and entreprenuersip focus in A&Ms current curriculum to grow commerce capable of paying more sales and property tax.

I like Jerome but he is not the guy that will envision a plan that will attract the knowledge industry we desparately need to grow revenue. This is very close to what Crompton does for a living. Jerome's approving a budget and then voting not to raise taxes to pay for it is not a solution but a certain prescription for even more debt, and the need for so eo e else to raise taxes.

DogCompany74
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Well said Drill.

I live in College Station and for 8 years the City Council majority was made up of men and women who masked their personal or industry interests around claims that " all development is good development." What we are left with now is $300 million in unsecured long term debt and tax increases higher than they should be to pay off financial concessions made to developers who are appropriately only focused on a speedy return on investment .

John Crompton has a track history of 40 years of service to our city and Texas A&M. Those who know him are if one voice about his integrity and his commitment to doing what is right for the long term welfare of our city . You may disagree with him but you will know that there are no hidden agendas to his position.

We should all hope that we have political leadership like John Crompton in our communities.
Hell Bent Canine -All or None
Aggie1205
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Wasnt Crompton on the council back when they kept spending money on with that Arts guy and named the Art building after him only to find that he was stealing money from the city?
EliteElectric
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MisterShipWreck said:

UmustBKidding said:

Unfortunately Lord Crompton talks a better game than Rektorik and may even be the driver of Elite's statement.




I was specifically talking about CoB, did not watch CoCS because I don't live there. Sorry for the confusion
www.elitellp.net
crbongos
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Drilltime, I stand corrected in the $15,000 fee. My understanding was that was added to the existing $7500 so if I'm wrong I stand corrected. People already living in CS wont have to pay the impact fee so it doesn't bother them. Only future homeowners are affected and they aren't here now to vote on this. Is that fair? Do you not think when your house was built these same issues and costs existed? If CS wants to slow down growth this will certainly accomplish that. It already has. Impact fees affect commercial building, apartments, etc as well and can add $100s thousands of $. It depends upon size of the water tap. It's sad to me that CS is already not affordable for city staff, police and teachers. This will only broaden the gap.
CRBongo
happyinBCS
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Your post is spot on, simply unbelievable how the tenured professor mindset is so obvious in CS city government. These folks have never had to earn a dollar on commission or digging ditches. No one is talking about the 3 new car dealerships and Coopers all in a row that will provide hundreds of thousands of dollars of new tax revenue to the city ( all of these properties had an ag exemption for years providing zero tax revenue) and all the infrastructure was in place. I would never vote for Crompton to continue the madness
DogCompany74
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From the perspective of young families already having problems with dealing with escalating taxes for the homes they bought , is it fair to them and all of the other home owning taxpayers to accept the entire burden for installing water,utilities , streets, to increase the value of new houses. These deals are costing the city at least $9 million per year

The state recognizes that a developer can /should be responsible for up to 50% of the impact costs that their private business ventures incur on a city's infrastructure. The City of College Station is collecting less than 15% of these costs. This is a formula for financial disaster.

The City has incurred $300 million in long term debt without asking the taxpayers for approval in a bond issue . If you have a Majority of the City Council that are either in the real estate business or have received political contributions from the real estate lobby, then you get these kind of " all development are good developments " mindset and conflicts of interests.

The taxpayers are waking up and in the past three city elections they have elected 4 small business owners who have the best interests of the city in every decision they make. John Crompton while a globally recognized academic also has a very Successful consultancy business. Best of both worlds successful business owners without the conflicts of interest.
Hell Bent Canine -All or None
lost my dog
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happyinBCS said:

Your post is spot on, simply unbelievable how the tenured professor mindset is so obvious in CS city government. These folks have never had to earn a dollar on commission or digging ditches.
Lol, no they just had to earn tenure. Last time I checked, that wasn't exactly easy.
southerner
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AG
Impact fees would make sense if developers were not already responsible for bringing utilities to their projects. There is a misconception that when a property owner wants to develop a project requiring water, wastewater, or roadways that do not already exist, they just ask the city to provide those lines and start their project.

In truth, developers already pay for the utilities to be extended to their sites, generally to the benefit of other property owners in the area.

I am not opposed to some level of impact fees being levied on new development, but $15,000 per new home is outrageous and Lord Crompton's assertion that the price of a new home won't increase, the size of the home will just have to decrease, is asinine.
cslifer
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I don't think anyone is saying that developers don't pay for the roads and utilities in their new neighborhoods. What the developers don't pay for, and impact fees help with, is the systemic effects the development has on utilities. That new neighborhood is going to take sewer plant capacity etc. and upgrading that stuff is darn expensive.
cavscout96
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serious inquiry....

whop paid for the 1.5 mile extension of lakeway drive in College station?
Oogway
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To add on to that question, who is paying for the widening of Greens Prairie?

I will say, one potential positive to having some type of impact fee might be that some redevelopment occurs in older areas if homes (especially vacant homes) switch from rental to owner occupied. If that moves students toward apartments and town homes that are currently under capacity, that is not such a bad thing. It allows for filled growth in older areas as the newer homes come on line.

I have not yet made up my mind, but I do NOT like the C.O. debt that has been piling up.
UmustBKidding
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The Certificate of obligations needs to stop. They already rammed the police station down the throats of residents. An I think that the police need more room, but there were lots of questions they avoided answering by just doing the CO thing. Their other scheme is spend a few million on design then when the build gets questioned its oh we have to do it we have already spent millions on it. Even my most liberal friends voted against the last city hall with the lake and 12M$ causeway said sell the land on Texas and use that to fund at least partially the construction of a replacement on less valuable property. It was not the location they voted against it was the lake, bridge and other stuff that was beyond stupid, but now plan is to spend tons and keep location. Crompton says he is against Cert of obligation but I believe him NOT after his last reign. I believe his challenger leans more conservative but still has been present for some of the avoid bond spends but voted against the Moonbeam's well the state is going to limit us we need to grab the MAX before it goes into effect even though its not required to cover the approved pork bloated budget. His talking about how he hopes city reimburses him for all his trips to Austin to lobby the legislature not to pass it. He obviously did not ask the residents if they wanted the restrictions since everyone I have talked with response is that its about time they did something to reign in out of control cities. I figure Dick Birdwell is spinning at least 500RPM in his grave after all the shenanigans the council has pulled since he left.

UmustBKidding
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Remember Greens Prairie is a typical example of COCS annexation. They annexed the property for Castle Gate but not the road. Then drive lots of traffic down it and the County had to upgrade it before it totally fell apart. But they finally annexed the Margraves and other property on the south side and were forced to take the road. But their adding the super speedway Greens Prairie Trail increased through traffic that again the road was in immediate danger of collapse. So we spend a few million to pave it when its due to be replace within two years.
The short section between the creek/woodlake & creek measows is still the county's. If I were them I would close it to through traffic, and if COCS wants it open they can annex it. But won't happen half the commissioners are ex term limited CS council members. Maybe one and out term limits are not enough, maybe need no migration to other government entities clause in there also.
I for one would elect a AI based android to most government posts, at least you could program them to listen to the constituents, and vote based on their desires instead of what they this is best or their special interest supporters desire.
UmustBKidding
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Impact fees would likely be unnecessary if COCS would not raid the enterprise divisions to supplement the general fund. Yes sewer plants, water treatment/distribution, and electrical infrastructure are expensive. But CSutilities rates are already high and would fund these expansions/improvements if not for the theft to supply the general fund shortfalls. The council seems to not have the will to make the hard decisions to raise taxes to support their spending or reign in the spending to not exceed what the taxes will support.
DogCompany74
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AG
It has become too easy for the City over multiple years to simply " charge" projects off on the Certificates of Obligation credit card than it is to aggregate them as a single bond issue that would require the City Council to sell the relative value of these projects to the taxpayers. If the bond issue fails then the city can not bring it back to the voters for three years.

This law has the effect of forcing cities to think long term rather than a piecemeal reactive way that the developer led Council started doing 8 years ago when we last had a bond issue. $300 million is on the books now and growing. John Crompton will at least be a voice on the Council to bring these projects proposed by staff to the voters.

Regarding the $15,000 in impact fees incurred by the city, state law allows recovery of up to 50% from land developer , or $7,500 . In actuality the city has only been collecting about 15% of that limit or about $2,000. Leaving the balance to be paid for by the established homeowners who are under the age of 65 since seniors taxes are capped. This $13,000 subsidy ( $9 million year now) is no longer sustainable and we need to take the approach that growth needs to assume more of the upfront costs associated with these commercial ventures. It's a matter of fairness.

Rather than basing your vote on hearsay I'd urge everyone to go to John Crompton's website at John Crompton for Council and he is very straightforward about what needs to be done.



Hell Bent Canine -All or None
southerner
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AG
If he were being 'straightforward' he would admit that impact fees will result in increased home prices. Instead, he says that "Developers do not pass the added cost through to the home buyer since the market will not be responsive. Instead they: 1. Pay less for the land. 2. Reduce the size of the house. 3. Reduce the expenditures on fittings, finishes, and landscaping." (quote pulled directly from his website)

Does he think people don't know the difference? Set aside his first point (wherein he admits to seeking to drive down the value of assets), he is telling homebuyers that they should be happy to pay the same for less. It really boggles my mind.

Being a growing city brings challenges. Crompton and his lot would prefer we capped at 50,000 residents, 25,000 students (or less) but that ship has sailed. We need leaders who understand, and welcome, the inevitable continued growth and are willing to meet the challenges head-on.

Just remember, the same group that is seeking to resurrect Lord Crompton is the group that propped up Harvell, Brick, and Maloney.... all of whom have voted for C.O. financing in the past.
UmustBKidding
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Remember Crompton has been endorsed by the former mayors of College Station. This alone is testament sane people not vote for him.
For further support of this sentiment refer here
https://texags.com/forums/35/topics/2901018

Drilltime
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I made a statement up above that I need to correct. There is no state law that caps the impact fees at 0% of the cost. i read that online weeks ago, but when I looked at the actual law today I couldn't find it. And I've now confirmed that 100% can be recovered with people who should know. So don't repeat the 50% rumor. Some people already have and I apologize for the bad information.

But it doesn't change my support for some increase in impact fees. My concern with 100% recovery is that our residents can create some additional value to the city over time. that they should get credit for. But I've been told the Council has always considered this in their discussions of impact fees, though its hard to really know what the net value of a resident is to a city. We have a city committee for impact fees and I assume their job is to make some judgement on what the unrecovered burden is for our taxpayers. So I don't know if it's 50% or some other value, but I'm confident the unrecovered burden is more than $ 2k per house.

The total is probably greater than even $15k. The fee is calculated with a process established in state law. The $15,000 is consistent with that process and was confirmed by the city. It does not include any expenditures by the developer. By law, some of the largest ticket items cannot be included, such as fire stations, fire trucks, and building space for police. We are already using about 40% of all property taxes to service our debt, and there are even more future commitments in the new neighborhoods that contribute to the $300M in additional unfunded liabilities we're told are in the pipeline.

If I didn't believe new growth should pay for itself, then what should I believe? If I bought a house I would expect to pay for it and I think there is some conservative upbringing in that. The subsidy does not go to the homeowner, it goes to the developer. If a developer cannot build a neighborhood economically without a government subsidy of $15k per house, I would expect that neighborhood to simply not to be built. That's the way it works for all of the rest of us. Government subsidies always distort markets. In this case, it hurts the owner that is trying to sell their older home. Assuming the developers actually do pass their subsidy on to the buyers, is this fair to the rest of the housing market?

There are a number of posts that express concern for new home buyers. Whenever impact fees come up in conversation we all naturally imagine the the young family trying to get started. But every house gets this subsidy, including million dollar homes. If we did want to subsidize low income housing, we would index the fee so it increases with home value. Somewhere around 250-300k and above I would expect a developer to pay the full fee set by the city. I would prefer to let the free market work, but if you do have progressive ideas about subsidings millennials who are having a hard time getting started, design a system that does that. Maybe we could be generous and just let developers of $350k houses be subsidized as well, but it's a little hard to justify when we seem to have a runaway debt problem to start with, and new state laws that will make it hard to ever catch the curve.

You can be dogmatic and vote for budgets while voting against the taxes to pay for it, or you can get real. We will never get control of our taxes until we get control of our growth in debt.

I agree with a previous poster that we have a lot of inefficiency, overspending on projects and other opportunities to do better. But the growth problem is so big it has to be a major part of the formula for a balanced budget. It's not just the situation we're already in, but the certainty that it will get much worse. We already know the numbers. We need leadership to address it head on. We have a math problem and to get anywhere close to addressing it we need to make more reasonable decisions on a lot of fronts.



Drilltime
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First sentence in my note above should say "caps at 50%",not "0%"
Drilltime
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According to data provided by the city engineer Ms Cotter:
- As I posted above, there is no 5% rule on the costs the city can recover. The fee can be 100%
- The average fee the city could charge by the states calculation is $21,000 (wow)
- The actual fee averages $ 6600 (the $2000 being posted is incorrect)
- The $15000 we are hearing about is the difference. It's the average subsidy developers are still receiving
- These averages are not per house, but per "residence".
Broncos
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EliteElectric said:

MisterShipWreck said:

UmustBKidding said:

Unfortunately Lord Crompton talks a better game than Rektorik and may even be the driver of Elite's statement.




I was specifically talking about CoB, did not watch CoCS because I don't live there. Sorry for the confusion

I don't have a dog in the fight for the COB elections since i'm not a resident but it was definitely entertaining.

I think it goes without naming names but there are definitely some candidates who clearly don't know what they're getting in to. Also, if I remember correctly didn't one of the Bryan city counsil candidates get caught lying about his address a few years back when he was on counsel?
southerner
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AG
The delivery of utilities and roadways to land within the city limits should hardly be called a "subsidy". This is a word that the anti-growth segment uses to frame its case.

If the city annexes property and zones it anything other than 'rural', the owner of that property should have the reasonable expectation that the city will provide them with the services typically needed to meet the entitled use.

Rational people can disagree on the need for impact fees or even the policy of rezoning property entirely, but to say that developers are getting a "subsidy" is inaccurate.
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