File Photo - Billy Piper puts a steak on Mike Loven’s plate at a past Military Affairs dinner for the 13th ESC. The dinners are on hold for 2017 at the moment.

Military Affairs Committee seeking solution to hold dinners in 2017

Cove Leader-Press
The Military Affairs dinners are still unscheduled for 2017, after the Copperas Cove city council took no action regarding a proposed cost sharing and reimbursement agreement between the City of Copperas Cove, Copperas Cove Independent School District, the Military Affairs committee, and the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, regarding the military affairs dinners held by the committee each year.
The last military affairs dinner was in June 2016, after which the committee canceled the remainder of the dinners for 2016 due to funding issues related to the Copperas Cove Civic Center rental fee.
A full-day rental of the Civic Center is now $800, after the Sept. 2015 fee increase approved by the council, which was then followed by a June 7 amendment to the city policy regarding facility rental fees charged to nonprofit groups like the Military Affairs Committee. The committee had paid $250 for a full-day rental until that amendment was approved. The amendment stated that nonprofits must demonstrate a public purpose to receive a discount for the rental, and no more than 50 percent discount.
Tuesday’s proposal from the Military Affairs Committee requested that the city waive the rental fee for use of the City’s Civic Center, and that the City of Copperas Cove handle the financial records management for the Committee and financial reporting for the Committee.
CCISD’s role would be to provide military appreciation gifts for the dinners. The Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce would handle RSVPs, as well as print programs and name tags, accept noncredit card payments which will be given to the city for deposit, provide receipts for check or cash payments and provide CDRS plaques for the event. The Chamber would be responsible for the payments taken until delivered to the city for processing.
Councilman David Morris shared his own reasons for not making a motion for that agreement.
“Looking at the agenda item for the Military Affairs, I had concerns about the burden it would put on our city and staff to take the agreement in its current status. I personally couldn’t support the item that puts 70 percent of the burden on the City, 25 percent on CCISD and a mere 5 percent on the Military Affairs committee,” Morris said. “I encouraged Sean (Corrigan) and the Military Affairs committee to rework the agreement and have it brought back to council in a revised version.
It is nothing personal against Mark Peterson, the Military Affairs committee or the Chamber of Commerce. There is nothing that locks the Military Affairs committee into hosting the events at the Civic Center and encourage them to bring a more attractive agreement back to council or begin exploring options to host the events elsewhere.
The request for the City to take over the accounting, discount the facility 100 percent and limit the participation to only the Mayor and his guest in my opinion was unreasonable, and directly contradicted the ordinance council put into place that allowed for up to a 50 percent discount for qualifying nonprofit entities.”
A different agreement was presented by the city to the Military Affairs Committee in April 2016.
This agreement was reportedly rejected by the chamber, Gardner said at the June 7 meeting, which Mark Peterson also mentioned.
Morris called that April agreement “more equal for the City and Military Affairs Committee,” stating that it would allow for the city to have a table at the annual banquet, a waive of chamber membership dues and allow for the council to attend the events in exchange for a reduced rate of the center from March to November.
Place councilman Matthew Russell shared his reason for not making a motion on the agreement.
“There was an unclear benefit to the city and CCISD for the things they would be required to do,” Russell said.
When the new agreement was brought to the council on Tuesday night, Gardner said her work was done on the process between her discussions with the committee and the resulting proposal from Peterson.
“As city manager I’ve done everything that I can do with this particular item, unless you have some specific direction you want to provide me to go,” Gardner told the council when the item was brought to the council.
According to the agenda, the new proposed agreement had already been signed by the Chamber of Commerce as well as CCISD, but lacked the signature of the Copperas Cove city manager.
Peterson attempted to address the council without a motion being made, but place 7 councilman Matthew Russell called a point of order, that Peterson addressing the council without a motion being brought was out of order, to which Mayor Seffrood agreed. After the item died, Peterson left the meeting.
Russell later told the Leader-Press that it is important for citizens to be involved with their local government, and that is why each local governing body has a citizens forum at the beginning of each council meeting.
Mark Peterson told the Leader-Press on Wednesday afternoon that the Military Affairs committee will meet on Monday to discuss what direction to go now for the events, which have taken place in the city for more than 50 years. There is also the matter of finding a venue for the dinners that has enough space and that the committee can afford, along with where to store the grills, currently stored at the civic center.
Peterson, along with his wife, Laura, and Robert O’Dell, fellow committee members, addressed the council in June to show the impact that paying the full civic center rent would have on the committee’s ability to host the dinners. Peterson stated in citizens forum during the June 7 meeting that if the committee had to pay the full rental rate, they could only host three dinners each year and would have to host multiple commands at one dinner.


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