EDC board hears pitches from attorneys
By LYNETTE SOWELL
Wednesday’s meeting of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation board of directors lasted more than two hours, but the board made no decision on selecting legal representation after hearing three presentations by law firms which submitted RFQs to the board.
The three board members who were present voted to table any decision on choosing a firm until all five board members are present and able to cast votes. Board member Harald Weldon was absent from the meeting and board member Christian Mulvey needed to leave the meeting before a vote could be taken.
Along with hearing presentations from the three law firms, the board also received its first look at the 2017-2018 fiscal year budget for the EDC.
Board chair Marc Payne told the city’s budget director/deputy city manager, Ryan Haverlah, that he would have preferred more time to see the budget so he could review it, more than three days.
The EDD projects starting the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, 2017 with a fund balance of $3,940,236. Sales tax revenues for the 2017-2018 fiscal year are projected to be $1,175,375 in the base budget. This year’s sales tax revenue—despite the 1/8-cent reduction approved by voters last November—still exceeds $1,000,000, with an anticipated $1,374,670 total to be received by the end of the current fiscal year. That’s $45,972 less than the $1,420,642 the EDC collected last fiscal year.
Key notes given to the board regarding next year’s budget include that EDD staffing is expected to remain at three full time and one part-time employee, that the land exchange between the city and Fort Hood is expected to occur in the upcoming fiscal year, capitalized adjustments have been included in the budget, and that the proposed budget is not being submitted to the board 90 days prior to adoption, which is out of compliance with the EDC’s bylaws. However, Haverlah told the board that the rest of the timetable remains the same.
The EDC board will hold workshops for the proposed budget on July 12 and July 19, followed by a public hearing on the budget at its July 26 meeting. The EDC board and council will also have a special council workshop on the EDC’s budget on July 27, which will be followed by a second public hearing on August 1.
Payne also stated that he would have preferred more time to look over the proposed budget prior to Wednesday’s meeting, and questioned why the April 2017 financial report wasn’t available until June. Haverlah explained that the financial reports are always two months behind, because sales tax revenues are not issued by the state until two months after they are collected. April’s sales tax revenues were not announced until June 7 by the state comptroller’s office.
Also at Wednesday’s meeting, the only action the board took regarding the budget was to approve that it be filed with the city council for the council’s review at its next meeting, on Thursday, July 6.
As part of the Economic Development Department director Marc Farmer’s monthly prospects report, he called for the board to enter into an executive session regarding a prospect not on the monthly list—a project called “Orange Development.” After the closed session, the board emerged with no announcement made.
On the EDC’s monthly prospect report, there are seven active projects still in play for the EDC, ranging from CDL Research and Development Group, which is currently working on designs and preparing to obtain permits for construction of a truck driving school and trailer drop in The Narrows. According to the report, there are six employees currently working for that company’s Copperas Cove site.
Three manufacturing companies, dubbed Project Hold Up, Project Surf, and Project Apex, are still in different stages of discussions with the EDC. Two of the prospects are national restaurant chains that first made contact with the EDC in June of this year. One restaurant is looking at a site and might need some assistance with infrastructure development, the other has visited several potential properties with Farmer and Diane Drussell, the EDC’s business retention specialist.
The seventh company, Project Methane, is just in the beginning stages of looking at Copperas Cove. This company converts waste into usable energy.
The EDC board also received the April 2017 financial report from the EDC. In April, the EDC’s year-to-date revenue exceeded expenses by $1,678,591. The EDC also received $111,387 in sales tax revenue, 3/8-cent of the city’s 1-1/2 cents of sales tax revenue. So far for 2017, the EDC has received $840,428 in sales tax revenue.