Council approves new lease for Star Group – VHV
Fri, 2017-01-20 06:16 News Staff
By LYNETTE SOWELL
The Copperas Cove city council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to approve a new lease for Star Group - Veterans Helping Veterans for the site of the former police station at 202 S. 4th Street. This new lease goes from Feb. 10, 2017 until Feb. 9, 2019.
The agenda item was originally part of the consent agenda, which is a list of items which are voted on by the council in one motion without discussion. However, councilman George Duncan requested that the item be voted on separately.
Star Group – VHV is one of several groups locally lease property from the city. In the past year or so, city council had indicated it wanted the city to “get out of the leasing business”, with leases to Cove House, Star Group – VHV as well as Head Start up for discussion.
Duncan explained the reason for his request.
“In the past, this council has made open comments that we want to get out of the leasing business as a city, and we’ve been working toward that,” Duncan said. “So there’s this long-term plan in order to do that. But I thought it was necessary in the interest of fairness and openness and transparency that I explain as best I can that, had this been left on the consent agenda and not addressed, there could have been a possibility for someone saying, ‘Now, you’re treating one organization differently than another.’”
He added that this was an opportunity to explain that that there’s a big difference with the property leased by Star Group – VHV and with the group itself.
Duncan said the group is “woven into the fabric of our community” and there was no way they wanted to see the group depart from the community. He called a deadline of 2019 an “arbitrary” deadline to get out of the “leasing business,” that to leave that building empty would be “ridiculous” and does not serve a useful purpose for the city, or for the group.
However, he did encourage Jonathan Haywood, the Star Group – VHV president, to get with the city manager at his earliest opportunity to future plan for an exit strategy over the next five to 10 years.
“There is going to come appoint in time when that building could potentially go away,” Duncan said.
A large contingent of Star Group – VHV members were present for this part of the agenda, and upon hearing Duncan’s remarks, they applauded the decision, after which the council voted.
Another item was also pulled from the consent agenda, that of approving a one year contract extension with Lockwood, Andrews & Newman, Inc. engineering. This was done at the request of Jay Manning, because he wanted to point out wording in the agenda item that would authorize city manager Andrea Gardner to continue to extend LAN’s contract yearly without bringing it to the council for approval.
Discussion followed, with the clarification that any extensions could only be done one year at a time through 2019. Also, if there are any changes to the firm’s scope of work or fiscal impact, the agreement would be brought to the council for approval. This extension was approved by the council.
The council also approved a resolution authorizing city manager Andrea Gardner to enter into an agreement with Wheatland Investments Group for fee waivers not to exceed $5,000. The gesture is a show of support for The Estates of Copperas Cove, a proposed affordable housing project for senior citizens. The fee waiver is contingent on Wheatland’s successful application for low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC) through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA).
The council voted unanimously to approve the release of $3,000 in funds to the Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove for the Feast of Sharing held in November.
Mayor Frank Seffrood entertained nominations from the fully seated city council for the appointment of a mayor pro tem to serve for one year. After receiving nominations of George Duncan and Kirby Lack, nominated by James Pierce Jr. and Dan Yancey, respectively, the council voted to appoint Duncan as mayor pro tem.
The council approved a contract between the city and Public Sector Personnel to conduct a salary and compensation study for the city’s public safety positions, at a cost of no more than $8,500.
Robert Endter was voted to fill a vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission, to fill an unexpired term which ends on June 30, 2018.
The council also voted in one motion to approve all seven applicants for the newly formed Sign Ordinance Workgroup, with Robert Endter, John Hayes, Marcella Lowery, Robert Nelson, Marc Payne, James Stockman and Patricia Thomas all appointed. They will join two members of the Planning & Zoning Commission along with city council liaison Matthew Russell on the workgroup.
As far as establishing an Ad Hoc Committee regarding the possible creation of a Municipal Development District in Copperas Cove, the council took no action on Tuesday night. Councilman George Duncan moved for the council to put this item on the agenda for the council’s annual retreat, which is set for Feb. 28, to which the rest of the council agreed.
The council held an executive session to discuss the city’s Budget Director/Assistant to the City Manager as well as the City Manager/Interim Economic Development Director. After that session, the council emerged to take no action.
The 5 p.m. workshop item, discussion and direction on advisory board procedures and appointments, was pulled by place 6 councilman George Duncan.
During the workshop, Dan Yancey and Jay Manning were sworn into office by city judge Bill Price for places 3 and 4 on the city council, respectively.
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