Courtesy Mygnonne T (audio here)
MINUTES OF MEETING
CITY OF GLEN ROSE
4-B TAX ADVISORY BOARD
JULY 20, 2009 – 5:30 PM
COUNCIL CHAMBERS – TOWN HALL
BOARD PRESIDENT CONNALLY MILLER CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER AT 5:30 PM WITH BOARD MEMBERS DARRELL BEST, RONALD BRUCE, MITCHELL GEORGE, MIKE JONES AND SUE OLDENBURG PRESENT.
COPY OF AGENDA:
1. Citizens Comments: The Corporation welcomes comments from Citizens. Those wishing to speak must sign in before the meeting begins. Speakers may speak on any topic, whether on the agenda or not, but must observe a three-minute time limit. Members of the Board may answer direct questions, but no action may be taken at this meeting.
2. Approve Minutes of previous meeting of July 14, 2009.
3. Discuss Riverwalk Change Orders.
4. Discuss and Begin Construction of Work Plan and Budget for FY 2009-10.
ACTION ON AGENDA ITEMS:
1. Citizens Comments: No comments were received.
2. Minutes: Mr. Bryant moved to approve the minutes as written. Mr. Bruce seconded the motion, which passed 5/0.
3. Change Orders: Margaret Drake explained that Michael Buckley presented the two change orders on behalf of Jay Mills Contractors, asking for additional monies. Change Order #1 consists of a request for an additional $19,072 to cover the cost of the concrete trails 8’ wide and 6” thick, 237 feet @ $32 lf. The second is a concrete trail 8’ wide and 6” thick with 24’ grade beams, 288 feet @ $41 lf. These items were inadvertently left off the original summary of the total costs of the Riverwalk. Although it was included in all bids, it was not included in the approved price. The second change order is a request for an additional $30,600 to add a dinosaur footprint stamp and a couple of leaf stamps in the concrete, 440 feet @ $65 lf.
Mr. Bryant said that one of his concerns is that almost $20,000 is a big chunk of money to just leave off a bid; however, we need to do it in order to complete the project. It was made clear that the contractor had included it in their bid and that all bids were evaluated in the same way. Mr. Best voiced his concerns that the bids were not evaluated in detail by the 4B committee prior to Council approving them.
Regarding the $30,000 cost for stamping, Dr. Jones expressed his concern for the price. Mr. Bryant said he thought the money could be put to better use. Ms. Drake called upon Don ? who said he had been involved in the same sort of situation in another city. Aboriginal footprints were embedded into the sidewalk. The indentations filled up with leaves, then someone slipped and fell. They sued the City and won. He advised against putting any kinds of “dips and dings” in concrete, because they will fill up with debris. Dr. Jones said acid etching sounds like it would be better. Ms. Drake said that was acid etched, so when it got wet, it was dangerous. Mr. Best offered his opinion that the cost was way out of line and other things were available at much less cost, particularly since the concrete makes up only about 30% of the total trail. He made a motion to object to the second change order. Dr. Jones seconded the motion, which passed 6/0.
Mr. Best asked about discussing a $42,000 expenditure for re-grading parts of the embankment. Ms. Drake asked if it was appropriate to discuss at the 4B meeting, to which Mr. Best replied, “Yes, it’s our money.” Mr. Miller said that essentially it was a change order that called for a one-third grade to the hillside, to clear out some of the brush. Mr. Bruce said that after the workshop, the City Council has decided to go with a more natural appearance. The dead trees will be taken out, he added. It was agreed that it is the Council’s intention to not go through with the change order.
4. Budget: Mr. Miller presented a report of area sales tax revenue that was prepared and distributed at the Retreat by Billy Huckaby, which shows that Glen Rose is doing extremely well in comparison with the neighboring towns and cities. Mr. Miller added that in his estimation, the sales tax revenue is being generated not by local area residents, but by visitors to our community.
Following an explanation of the expected revenues of $400,000 next fiscal year, Mr. Miller explained that the expenses are his best estimate of the cost of renovating Oakdale and anticipated operating costs. He inserted a line item for Travel & Training, and increased the line item for Legal Expenses. Admin Fee is a reimbursement to the City for their time and expense. Mr. Bryant asked how a number can be established to reimburse the City. Mr. Best said he has no objection to reimbursing the City, because that is provided for in 4B Law. However, he feels there needs to be a contract where numbers are agreed upon. Mr. Miller said there can be a general fee; Mr. Best said he didn’t believe so, but he would go back and read the 4B law again. Mr. Bryant said he didn’t think the City would charge a general fee.
Mr. Best presented a list of line items that he had put together for discussion purposes. He said that he did not think that they should be doing $4 million in bonds with the City. He did look at revenues, and said his numbers are low because he did not understand the revenue numbers in the budget given to the City by Mr. Miller on Saturday. His budget addressed reimbursement of bonds in the amount of $2.5 million to cover the Riverwalk and Oakdale, but reserving money for economic development, which is the purpose as it relates to the By-Laws. In his proposed budget, he also put $53,000 per quarter into a reserve for future debt obligations having to do with the bonds, so that the 4B would be assured of always having money set aside in the event of a bad economic year. He also recalculated the bond repayment based upon his figures of $2.5 million.
Mr. Bryant asked if any more research has been done on exactly what 4B funds can be used for in the field of economic development. Mr. Best said that he has spoken with Russell Gallahan in the Comptroller’s office who said that Barnard’s Mill is a viable project; however, the documentation that created the Glen Rose 4B may modify that. He said he has looked at the By-Laws and Articles of Incorporation, and it very clearly would justify 4B’s support, but if Mr. Miller wants to get an AG opinion, then by all means do it.
Mr. Best stressed that 4B needs to make it clear to Council that they will not support more than a $2.5 million bond. He said he does not want to strip the 4B Tax Corporation of the money to do economic development projects. Mr. Miller said, “Oakdale is an economic development project.” Mr. Best agreed and said he would like to see a business plan, but no one has come forward with one. Mr. Best mentioned a report from Billy Huckaby that showed $3,000 total revenue from Oakdale in the 4th Quarter. Mr. Miller asked if he is talking about total revenue, and Mr. Best said, “It says Gross Income.” Mr. George doubted the accuracy of the numbers.
Mr. Miller wondered why Mr. Best had a line item for $24,000 for legal fees, and he said he figured $250 per hour, 8 hours per month. Mr. Miller wondered if the Board wanted to change his proposed budget to reflect that amount.
Mr. Best said that the operation and maintenance of Oakdale Park needs to be identified as a separate project. Mr. Miller disagreed, saying that identifying Oakdale as a project includes the operation. Mr. George pointed out that each area has to stand alone. Dr. Jones said that the Riverwalk was easy, because the only expense it has is maintenance, whereas when we get into Oakdale, we don’t know what all we will need.
Mr. Bryant suggested that Mr. Bruce prepare documentation of how much the 4B Corporation would need to repay the City for administrative and maintenance services if the City decides to bill them.
Mr. Best asked if Mr. Miller had included a line item for “Reserves” in his budget. Mr. Miller said he didn’t think a line item was necessary. Mr. Bruce said Reserves accrue and are shown on ensuing budgets.
Mr. Miller changed the line item, “Legal Services” to $24,000 making the total of his budget $4,516,500.
Mr. Miller announced that at the next regularly scheduled meeting, the group will watch a DVD of the Open Meetings Act, in compliance with the AG’s ruling on 4B corporations.
Mr. Miller said that the overall 4B budget must be submitted to City Council by August 25; he would like to have it for presentation at their regular meeting on August 10. It can be amended after that, and budgets for each project will be done separately.
Mr. Miller said that if the City comes forward and says they are going to purchase Oakdale Park with City Reserve funds, then he would absolutely be all right with only going for $2.5 million in bonds. Mr. Bruce remarked that if the City has to buy Oakdale with the $2.5 million, then there won’t be anything left. Mr. Miller said he does not want to come up with a grand plan to design Oakdale and then run out of money three-quarters of the way through, where it looks okay, but not great. Mr. George wondered where the Grand Plan is, and why we haven’t come up with it already. Mr. Miller said he was ready to appoint a committee to select a design firm, and agreed with Mr. George that we are very, very far behind schedule. Mr. Bryant said the idea was to get Oakdale purchased and bring it up to Code, and then go from there. Dr. Jones said he thought the Oakdale Design committee will be a part of the “Grand Plan,” and Mr. Miller agreed with him. Mr. George agreed that running out of money would be disastrous, but he feels that $4 million is just too much. It would be more palatable for everyone, he said, at $2.5 million. Mr. Miller mentioned that he would like to help the small business community, and everyone agreed that downtown revitalization is a high priority. Mr. George said, “It has to be done right, because if we fail on this first shot, we don’t get another chance.” Mr. Best said he does not see this being a 6-month project; it’s more a multi-year project.
Mr. Bryant made a motion to approve Mr. Miller’s budget at $2.5 million rather than $4 million, and to include the changes that were made, with the assumption that the City Council is going to buy Oakdale. Mr. Best seconded the motion, and it passed 6/0.
Work Plan: Mr. Miller asked to table the Work Plan until the next scheduled meeting, the first Monday in August. Mr. Best said he will not be able to attend, but the committee already has his input. He will watch the Open Meetings DVD sometime at Town Hall. Mr. Bryant moved to table, and Mr. Bruce seconded. The motion passed 6/0.
Dr. Jones moved to dismiss. Mr. George seconded the motion, and it passed 6/0. The meeting adjourned at approximately 6:45 PM.