EDC approves amendment to property exchange agreement, discusses legal representation
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation board of directors unanimously approved the first amendment to the land exchange agreement between the City of Copperas Cove, the Coryell County commissioners and the EDC. The amendment authorized extending the closing date to on or before October 1. Both the Copperas Cove city council and Coryell County officials already approved the amendment request.
This time around, there were no questions from the dais if the EDC was getting the best deal from the property exchange.
Also this time around, there was interim legal representation present for the EDC, with Scott Osburn of Denton, Navarro, Rocha, Bernal & Zech, P.C. in attendance at the meeting. Osburn told the board that he was based out of DNRBZ’s Austin office, but lives in Lampasas and will be coming to Copperas Cove on behalf of the firm.
The board also discussed its legal representation and what happens next, after the board approved Austin-based Knight Law Firm, LLP as its legal representation of choice at its July meeting.
However, the interim counsel for the EDC will remain in place for at least another month, as city staff hasn’t gone through the process of negotiating a contract with Knight.
At the August 7 EDC special meeting, there was no legal representation present for the EDC, although an offer was made to phone DNRBZ for assistance with the property exchange amendment, which offer the board turned down. Also, representatives from the Knight Law Firm attended that meeting as requested by EDC board chair Marc Payne, although a contract had not been negotiated between the EDC and the firm.
On Wednesday, Payne called on Deputy City Manager Joe Brown to explain the process for the EDC contracting with the Knight Law Firm.
“The board has always done this on its own in the past,” said Payne. “We’ve heard no word from the city until we were told we were to send a letter. We did that, and then there was more confusion.”
Brown explained that after the contract was reviewed by the city manager and the city attorney, the contract would then head to the EDC. Then after the EDC approves a contract, it will go to the city council for approval. Brown said the contract could be brought back to the EDC board for its review prior to its September meeting.
Also on Wednesday, the board voted unanimously to accept the EDC’s fiscal year 2016 annual financial report, and also approved the EDC’s 2017-2018 fiscal year.
Executive director Marc Farmer described the budget as “light,” and said there were some things he’d like to see added. One of those is clearing The Narrows Business & Technology Park to give it more curb appeal. However, at this point any changes would have to come as a budget amendment to be discussed in the October or November time frame.
The board voted to release funds to the City of Copperas Cove for payroll charges of the Economic Development Department employees and various City employees for work performed for the EDC during June and July 2017, and it also approved the June 2017 financial report.
The board decided to hold its board/staff retreat and planning session on Wednesday, September 13.