The settlement in the failed Parkway East private land deal may not be costing taxpayers more than the $2 million that’s already been put down, but there’s a lesson here: the county should not be involved in private land deals utilizing creative financing.

Madison County essentially was stuck with a bad loan in a convoluted deal involving the failed $27.7 million Parkway East road construction.

Supervisors agreed to settle with Assured Guaranty, which insures the Parkway East Public Improvement District (PID) bonds.

A ridiculous contribution agreement that required the county to make shortfall payments was what tied taxpayers up.

The contribution agreement said the county would cover shortfalls if private developers defaulted on the loan that funded the construction of Galleria Parkway, which is completed and carrying traffic today.

Under that contribution agreement, the county would make shortfall payments only for a period of two years and at that point the PID would be responsible for reimbursing the county.

Why did the county ever get involved backing a private loan?

The PID is broke because development never materialized and owners just quit making payments of their taxes and assessments.

In May 2017, the county won an appeal in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals over the contribution agreement that freed taxpayers of complete liability.

Galleria Parkway began when 14 landowners agreed to a special assessment on their property in exchange for $27.7 million in bonds to build the 4.3-mile roadway that connects Gluckstadt to Madison and parallels I-55.

Only six of the current 17 landowners are still paying the assessments, with over $1.7 million worth of assessments not being paid.

The bank can’t just go get a road, but there ought to be a full accounting.