Video- Somervell County Commissioners Deliberations About Closing the Expo Center (July 11 2016) Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas
Video- Somervell County Commissioners Deliberations About Closing the Expo Center (July 11 2016)
12 July 2016 at 8:22:41 AM
Rough Transcript-please watch the video for exact wording
Hulsey: WE can't make up 4 million dollars.. I'm a private enterprise person, the law allows a government to be in private enterprise for economic development but I can't see the taxpayer out in the county benefits the county like it does the city. We don't get any benefit, we don't get hotel tax out of it, we have outside bed and breakfast's.If anyone needs this, the city does... they're the one benefitting, the county doesn't, and we've tried it for 23 years. Frank's done everything the court's asked him to do. Politics and business doesn't mix.
Kranz We have another entity in the community that is in serious financial shape and this court does not look down that road to get county in the same shape, we have to cut and we need to cut seriously in several places. Frank's done a terrific job, he's improved it, he's helped it. Under the conditions of the latest run, we'll never be in the black.
Wood: I don't think the court in general wants to see it go away but because of this being 4 mllion dollars down, have to look at every item today. Personally, I'd hate to see it go away totally but our county taxpayers in general are not getting anything out of it.
There's a few businesses that are. The taxpayers that do talk to me about it say "Why are you feeding money into something that is not paying for itself?". I just feel like we can't wait till next year to see what happens with the power plant to do something about all of our budget. ... we need to follow up whatever decision today to go out for bids for leasing it or selling it and see if we get anything.
Curtis: One county, one town. Are we partners, or are we not? My point being that we find ourself in an economic situation that we did not anticipate would happen this quick. We have been cutting budgets for the past few years anticipating the devaluation of the plant. The logrithmic step that it took this year or appears to be taking this year we did not anticipate, it would be extremely difficult to cut a budget ... to deal with it. I suggest the RFP is a good process and an MOU with the city until this calms down (NOTE: Brian later mentioned the MOU actually an interlocal agreement) and we figure out where this money's coming from and how we will, what the results will be of the lawsuit that is being appealed at this time. To vote to shut it down today closes the door on dialogue to find a way to keep the money flowing that's not such a burden on the county. RFP, I don't know if you can raise the sales tax any higher ,no you can't, but there has to be a way that we can keep this thing going and remove the burder that we're feeling right now.
Watts (auditor): Original proposal that judge floated was to cap the subsidy from the county at 250 thousand for expo so we could limit our exposure. A vote to close does not mean budget goes to zero. You can't take a facility like that and assume it's going to be zero. We're going to have post employment costs, reimbursing employees for unemployment, obviously a building of that size, we're going to have to continue to insure it, repairs and maintenance, parking lot has to be maintained...a vote to close does not take this number to zero. I would still say we'd have to put 250 thousand into the budget to cover
Chambers: Savings wouldn't come until about the second year?
Watts: Second, third,yes sir.... we don't be cooling the big arena, sizeable decrease, but still cost county 250 thou this first year.
Kranz- do you anticipate the expo losing about 400 thou this year?
Watts: Not at this point, remember that was a number we did to balance the budget, I think we'll have some leftover funds to put in expo reserves, too early to make projections. Coming into leaner months, usually have decent Sept. had a good June.
Chambers: no matter what happens today, any group willing to come forward with ideas, proposals, on agenda. City, any other group, any local groups, sit down and talk about it.
Audience: Lost X, still will cost 250 thou, so talking about 60 thou keeping it open
Chambers: Year one. . Gentlemen, where do we wish to go with this?
Curtis: I don't want to close the door. If we go out for an RFP, lease it, MOU with the city to take over operation for 2-3 year period while we get this thing settled. We have a new advertising agency we need to really hammer to substantially increase revenues, can't raise sales tax.
Chambers: Taxes are a different issue and that's for another meeting
Hulsey: Other obligations we have to provide services for
Chambers: Other obligations looking at cuts and layoffs also
Curtis: If we vote today to close it today, you just closed it without exploring these other potential options.
Chambers: not one to argue, and I"m not advocating one way or the other, but we have been exploring other avenues for 2 1/2 three years. Not like we've been sitting back waiting for this day to come.
Curtis. I'd like to ask the city right up front if they would consider helping us during our needs til we get this resolved with Luminant
Moody (City Glen Rose Mayor). This is an issue that would have to come before the city council
Hulsey If we do vote to close it and it does pass, when we would be closing it,
Chambers, Oct 1 (midnight Sep 30)
Hulsey: need to find out legal for sure if we're going to get sued for breach of contract. I sympathize with everyone and everyone losing jobs but we have to do something. We talked about other avenues and they're not there. Frank, again, he's done a great job. Going to take voting to close it to get something done?
Wood: I suggest we table it today to go out for RFP
Curtis: Need to take it before city council. They have potential to be big loser in this, Sales tax and motel tax in general
Lucas (county attorney) we'd have to bring an RFP back to the court
Chambers: Any objection to tabling this?
Watts: WE would need to advertise it for 2 weeks. We only have a weekly paper. WE're probably looking at mid-August before we could actually take action
Lucas: Would take some time to prepare the RFPs
Kranz: We do not want to continue kicking this crazy can down the road. We have to do something
Chambers: Being the bad guy here, ... it's on the agenda today to close it, we bring the other items back to court or we don't have that motion and we table it. 72 hours
Hulsey: So mid-August. Friday would be the vote to empower county attorney to draw up an RFP to get it into the paper next week. Sell the facility? Run the facility? RFP adequately documented. RFP process a little bit forgiving, can continue to negotiate or totally reject, a little lattitude.
Chambers: Table it today, RFP Friday, put it back on for a vote on Friday?
Curtis: Also need to get on the agenda for the city.
Watts: Anything done with the city would be interlocal agreement does not require RFP
Moody: Would require us to call a special meeting. We would need to know... August 8th next regular meeting. Need a very clear stated agenda item and not before next Monday. Earliest would probably be next Monday.
Chambers: Joint meeting.
Moody: May have some council meetings that might not be able to attend, special meetings usually on weekends or after 5 do have a couple of council meetings that have job committments. After 5:30 on a Monday evening?
Chambers: You let me know and we'll post the agenda. Still want to have Friday meeting for RFP? We hvae really beat around this bush today.(Tentatively) meeting at 5:30 pm on Monday
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