Council amends EDC bylaws, appoints two to EDC board
Fri, 2015-10-23 05:00 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council held its second regular meeting for the month of October on Tuesday evening, and approved changes to the bylaws of the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation. The EDC and its operations, not to mention its budget, had been under scrutiny by the council, with some members calling for more transparency in reporting.
Instead of designating for two council members to sit on the board as the bylaws amendment was drafted, councilman Matt Russell asked to change that requirement and continue with the council having a liaison to the EDC board. Not all council agreed with that.
“During the 5 October planning session, we discussed this. I think it’s still critical we keep with the appointment of two council members to the board, especially since we’re in the process of hiring a new EDC director at this time,” said councilman Mark Peterson. “Also, I believe we are privy to the HOTDA updates from the EDC, and I don’t see a requirement for that to be laid out that they would provide that update to us. We can get an update anytime the council desires, and it’s happened.” He added that he believed the performance updates should be looked at, at a later time. Councilwoman Marty Smith voiced her agreement with Peterson during the discussion.
Councilman George Duncan said he agreed performance reporting was critical but to him, he thought it a little overbearing on the EDC to have two members of the city council also be on the EDC board. Duncan said if he were appointed to the EDC board, he would feel the need to recuse himself from any decisions the council was required to make concerning the EDC.
Bradi Diaz, the EDC’s vice chair, asked to address the council, and said the EDC has had council members serve in the past on the board. “It has worked great. It really has. It’s worked as a partnership with council serving on the EDC board. The current serving members now do think it would be a good idea to make the EDC board and the relationship with the council work at lot better,” Diaz said. “That is the position of the EDC board at this point, and we invite council members to serve on the board at this point to foster a better relationship.”
Duncan acknowledged that in the past, there were council members on the EDC board. “For whatever reason, it hasn’t been done recently,” Duncan said. “It worked in the past, but I think there needs to be a formal separation between what the council does, because we’ve got enough to do, and what the EDC does, because you have enough to do.”
The changes to the EDC’s bylaws will also require it to use the same financial system the city uses and meeting minutes must be posted on the EDC’s website after approved by the board. The EDC will also have two officers, a chair and secretary, instead of four officers. EDC will also bring a monthly financial report to the council instead of quarterly and will conduct performance evaluations on the Heart of Texas Defense Alliance.
The bylaw amendments passed 4-2. Council members Cheryl Meredith, Kirby Lack, George Duncan and Russell voted in favor of the above changes, with council members Mark Peterson and Marty Smith, who serves as the EDC’s liaison, casting nay votes. In line with their prior voting on the above amendments, Peterson and Smith also voted against the approval of Jerry Smith and Marc Payne to the EDC board, but the appointments passed 4-2. The two replace Mitch Lofton, who had filled an unexpired term ending Sept. 30, 2015, and Dan Yancey, whose term also expired on the same date. Bradi Diaz asked that the terms become effective Nov. 1, 2015, as the EDC was having a monthly meeting on Thursday and. The terms will expire Sept. 30, 2018.
A request for $5,000 in transportation funding for the Copperas Cove Boys & Girls Club was brought to the council once again, and councilwoman Cheryl Meredith made a motion for the funding to be approved. However, none of the other council members made a second to Meredith’s motion, and the agenda item died. The request had been brought to the council before during the budget talks, and the council had directed Gardner to meet with the Boys & Girls Club director to discuss ways the city could benefit. The group’s updated request offered to let the city use its vehicles to transport Youth Advisory Council members to events, as well as during the summer reading program. However, that additional offer wasn’t enough for the council to move forward with approving the funding this time, which would have come from the general fund.
The council did give city manager Andrea Gardner the authority to submit an application for funding for the Avenue D sidewalk project phase 2, to the Killeen-Temple Metropolitan Planning Organization. She reminded the council the city has already submitted an application and been approved for funding for phase 1 of the sidewalk project, through a Transportation Alternative Program grant.
Plans to implement Cove American Little League in the city are now on hold, indefinitely. While Chuck Taylor, the head of CALL, had previously presented to the council on September 1 about the possibility of bringing Little League to Copperas Cove, the council wanted to wait and see what Joe Brown, the city’s new parks and recreation director, thought of the idea. The Cove Little League program would be operated by volunteers apart from the city’s parks and rec department. Brown told the council the decline of the city’s current baseball and softball programs was due to two reasons. “We have to look at the fiscal and operational effectiveness of our leagues. Over the last several years, going back about five years, we’ve lost about 100 participants a year. Really, there’s no reason to believe that loss won’t continue,” Brown told the council.
He added the decline was due to how the department has operated the league over the last couple of years and also the lack of capital improvements to the facilities. He said to “give our league away to a volunteer organization” wasn’t the right answer right now. “I’d like a couple years to get into our league and to work on how we operate, to look at our fiscal impact on that league. I think we some subtle changes to how we administer the league and how we follow through with the league, some capital improvements to our facilities, I think those numbers will increase.”