Audio- Somervell County Special Joint Meeting with City of Glen Rose Re: Expo Center Somervell County Salon-Glen Rose, Rainbow, Nemo, Glass....Texas
Audio- Somervell County Special Joint Meeting with City of Glen Rose Re: Expo Center
20 July 2016 at 11:44:38 AM
July 18 2016
Rough Transcript, listen to the audio for exact wording-also, couldn't always tell who was speaking, feel free to send me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with any speaking correction.
Roll call of both Somervell and City of Glen Rose elected, then Mayor Sam Moody turned the meeting over to Judge Danny Chambers.
Chambers Y'all probably already know that at the last meeting, Monday, we discussed what we were going to do with the Expo Center, whatever, who knows and one of the commissioners asked that we have a joint meeting with City Council to discuss options, moving down that path so that's the reason we're having this meeting tonight. Before we get to that, is there anybody that has something they'd like to say, of course, we're going to limit it tonight because we went through that last Monday, 3 minutes
Citizen: Consider all the kids
Ben Evans: I would ask that we try to find a solution and not close something that has such a significant impact on the community. And that's the other thing, we're a county, we're a city but we're one community. I'm a county resident but I don't tell people I live in Somervell County, I tell them I live in Glen Rose. And I think that looking at it through that glass is beneficial for the community, roughly 11 million dollars into this community is substantial dollars.You're here to find solutions and I think that's what this group is looking for you to do. Appreciate your hard work towards that but not to just close something that's so beneficial. Let's really find the path forward.
Citizen: I'd like to know where that 11 million is, I'd like to see it on paper.
Chambers: I understand
Commissioner: What's he talking about, our budget?
Chambers: No, I think he's talking about economic impact that brings in yearly to the community. That's where Frank and I have argued many many times back and forth.
Pat Condy: I'm a Somervell County resident.. options to lease or sell but way to go about it is to go national and not just stay local. Commercial real estate national company, and in Canada by the way.
Chambers: Outside our local realm
Kim Mc???: I used to work for the Expo Center 10 years ago. I've done economic studies about the expo and I know they've been presented to the board once upon a time. .. I don't know if something can be done again but I ask for everybody to consider everybody. It really helps the community and we need to keep it open.
Chambers: Just so everybody knows, a lot of you were probably here when we went over this last week, Frank was involved in a few of the meetings, just trying to look at all options. This year we went over many different options. I printed out a bunch of documents for you, profit/loss, events coming up, won't be any decisions here tonight.
Moody: There were 2 items you were in process trying to compile, a listing of coming events already booked, and a list of known maintenance requirements.
Chambers: Did you bring that?
Frank: no. First and foremot 187,000 utilties a year.
Moody The list I requested was repairs, maintenance items that have to be done to the facility. air conditioners that need to be replaced, not budget.
Frank Currently all HVAC works, replaced units 3 months ago. Yeah, lights need to be retrofitted, put that in the budget 2 years ago and has been on hold since the power plant isssues. It's a 20 year old plus facility. We're in good shape today.
Moody And I understand but facilities need maintenance.
Frank we constantly are painting or fixing something.
Chambers; Did get Chester a list of events.
Marquez Have they ever decided to create a fee schedule for parking?
Frank Numerous times. How can we control it? Numerous entrances and exits. This is Glen Rose texas not Fort Worth
Marquez. Given the fact that the front spaces between 67 have 396 spaces at $2 a pop, even at 50 percent full you're looking at, still $396 a day. It's easier to just block one side, most of the 18 wheelers go to the side and those should already be RV bulit up so they should already be paying that $25, plus $10 per horse on the trailer, adds up. Watched on previous videos shavings. ONly costs one person part time, went by there on friday and saw 8 RVs there, that's 20k
Hulsey Who's gonna park, who's paying to come there?
Frank: Ticket events. Team ropers, not one spectator there.
Hulsey: YOu have to sell tickets for people to park, can't charge for people putting on the show to park
Marquez. Vintage-charged $15 to get in, I would pay $2 to park. Having it in contract
Moody City of Washington, any events they charge parking for, anywhere from 5 to 8 dollars depending on type of event
Ramsay: After seeing teh video, I must really have a misunderstanding, I thought commissioners were going to present to us what they wanted us to do. if we're going to sit here and give suggestions, that's not going to tell us what you want from us.
Have y'all had a chance to talk about what you think you would want to work joint venture wise to move it forward? Is that even a possiblity at this time? I know it's short notice, does everyone in the room understand why we're in this position?.... It isn't just because we kind of want to close the expo. Beef history. Luminant filed two lawsuits aginast us, owners of the power plant, they pay 78 percent of our taxes here in Somervell County. They filed two lawsuits, one a bankrtupcy, one local last September. Brian, if I get any of this wrong, you correct me. They've already lost twice. They got it throughout a bankrupcy (?) back to Somervell County, they lost in February, it was a 2.2 billion dollar ruling that they should have paid their taxes plus $140 million dollars; they refuse to pay their taxes. We had a final judgement on May 4th I believe, they lost again, they refuse to pay their taxes. They have it in appeals court in Waco, I'm told that March is the earliest it can even be heard I'm talking about 2015. It's more likely September or October of 2017 before we hear what they're going to do about 2015. During that process, they went out and spent 1.59 billion dollars cash on 2 gas power plants, so it's not that they can't pay their taxes, it's that they won't pay their taxes. I'm told through their folks that they're gearing up to sue us again for 2016. Apparently, they lost in court at 2.2 billion, they are apparently going to render under 300 million this year. Absurd? Yes, it's absurd. Anybody's here from Luminant, I don't mean to offend you but what we're going through sucks. So they shoudl pay up, every one in this room does, we pay our taxes or we'd have been locked down and auctioned off our property, but they're going to keep fighting us and try to crush us the best they can. Am I biased? Yes, I am, but that's what got us in this position. I'm not trying to defend Somervell County for what we did in the past. Sure, we made mistakes, I'm not going to say we haven't, I"m sure we have but now we're to a point where we have to make mighty tough decisions to get us through at least two years, maybe longer than 2 years, it depends. I wish I had a better answer, but I don't. That's the reason we're here tonight, to look for any option from anybody to do anything we possibly can. The only person we won't beg is Luminant. ..
Chambers: Last year the Heritage Center lost one full time employee this year they're going to lose their part time, going strictly to volunteers. Library, one lady is retiring, we're not going to replace that. The road barn is being looked at heavily, who knows what cuts are going to be made there, as far as employees we don't know. Every department has been looked at, Frank and the expo and the golf course, 2 years ago went through heavy cuts. Were spending a million dollars a year, now 310. This year around 315, 320. It's not that things haven't been done, not that we (me and Don weren't here), when Luminant not paying, this is where we're at. Sheriff's dept after first of the year. EMS, one whole department will go away, fire marshall, absorbed and taking out of the budget. Fire marshall not going away but absorbed. Everything has been looked at, will happen against Wed and Fri.
Condy: Has (Luminant) paid anything?
Chambers: What they did they owed a little over 9 milliiton, paid 4 mllion, so what we done, this court was able to survive on 50 percent on what we should have received. July we start on our reserves. If they declare under 300 million and only pay on 300 million, will only bring us about 1 million from the plant. Drop budget 10-11 million down to 5-6 million. Tried very hard not to excite the public where we were at, maybe that was a mistake. Any other data we can give the city? Wastewater treatment, lift statement.
Audience: Can't hear you
Moody: Hear from commisioners what they think city might wnat
Ramsay: I thought they had already decided that, what you wanted to throw out to us. We did a direction to check into, all information on maintenance. Needed more detail from commissioners before we can even consider it. Great having all this information but doens't give it anything for us to move forward w our budget. I'm a fact based person.
Moody: Possibliity of interlocal agreement of some sort, even short term, would take time for long term decision.
Chambers: Supplements is why we're in this mess and we're trying to get away from, speaking for myself.
Hulsey: I think things have changed since last Monday. Money thing, we can't keep it open, it's how to close it.
Chambers: Meeting last Tuesday that was the 12th, wes thought might be something, some negotiations for 2016, they flat out said they understand the situation we're in, dont' you think for the citizens of Somervell County that some kind of deal needs to be cut. They've already lost.. two times, now it's becoming a bully tactic. Have I made you nervous enough yet? AFter that meeting, I was trying to be optimistic, thinking alright we can put 2 years to bed, no, they're going to run the course.
Trena: How long do you have money wise till it has to be closed?
Hulsey: It doesn't need to be on next year's budget.
Trene: So this year is fine, so October 1st?
Trena: So does that mean October 1st it would have to be closed? Or January 1?
Chambers: Talk over on Friday. It may be a phase out situation. We had talked the other day about October 1st but we have a few obligations here and there, not speaking for the court, that we need to work our way through. NOt trying to avoid the question, it's just some things have not been worked out.
Marquez: All I think is numbers big time. when I looked at your fee schedule I looked at other arenas around here, Andrew County, Lee County, a couple of other counties, smalelr venues and they have different costs, RV hookups $25 vs $35. Shavings were $9 instead of $8. I also thought you were going to come up with a 3 phase plan, "Hey we need $200,000 to clear it" but now that I'm thinking, we have a lot of citizens here, it would be beneficial for board/brainstorming think tank to figure ways out, I would push out there adjusting the fee schedule to increase revenue. Personally, city has a lot of things that are coming up that are forecast and dealing with a lot of history, tring to create fluid motion.
Chambers. So are we
Ramsay? What are your options right now? What were your objections in meeting today?
Chambers: To see how far the city wanted to go. Does the city want it at all? If they don't want it at all Spoken to outside groups to get appraisal, guidance. Short term is pretty damn short term.
? Brian made a good point in the first meeting. STill going to cost $250,000
Chambers: I think tha'ts come down to 168.
Brian: Point is it's not going to be nothing. Largest part separatoin expenses, reimbursing employers, if laid staff off and they claim unemployment, insurance alone about 11-12 thou per year, some utlities, still a public building so have to keep utlities on, fire alarms. (Why?) because we can't abandon the building.
? Land belong to the school?
Chambers: No, I believe that was deeded over in 1983.
? IN regards to the county, it is going to be able to fund the expo? If the city or the county or the group of you wants to pursue the maintenance, purchased by someoen else, takes time, what kind of time frame is that? What happens to people, events?
Chambers Events would go away for next year.
? 180 thousand dollars will cost, plus events for following year, what's the total plus profits you might make from events? County 180 thou to close, gives you a mulligan. Come up with 152 thousand dollars.
Hulsey We don't make money off every event.
? Shavings, stalls, RV hookups, how far is that away from 52 thousand.
Frank Look at fee structure, can't hammer customer with fees, looked at raising fees, shaving, 83 thousand dollar increase, that couuple with questions is about 80 thousands.
? You're actually only short about 42 thousands, if you could get the city to come up with the extra money you're short, that would bridge the gap for another year.
Marquez Hesitant to say city take over expo center. thought about transferring duties to other departments? City amdinistrtor, city this size what's our projectoin?
Chester: 27, 2800
Marquez- does this size usually only have one police officer in the city? Cities this size usually have 3-5 police officers. You may want to annex, transfer of departments. Fee schedule, adding one more dollar. Small town, small county, just one commuinty, people know we have this character, when they see these changes, they're going to know. My family came over here and were surprised they could just walk in.
Chambers do I need to se the timer before you start?
Bryant: Marquez, good thoughts and the police officers. Options that have nothing to do wtih city council at this time. I would think that kind of solution would have to be discussed with council, also if you are making those cuts and sincere about keeping Expo open, have commissioners thought about taking a cut on their salary as well.
Commissioner: Make one statement. None of this court has taken a raise at all in 4 years. W're not getting paid big bucks.
Trena: there is one person in this court making big bucks.
Hulsey: We're not going to give up our salary so you can forget that.
Trena Not asking you to
Hulsey: No, I know that. You're coming up with these solutions like we haven't done this before You've been here 4 years? Ken and I have been here over 3. We've tried these thigns that ya'll are talking about It's not like we haven't tried, we've cut over 400,000 plus about 2 years ago, we went up on rates. You think you're coming up with good solutions that we've tried.
Marquez. Hard for me to see with current papers that we have
Hulsey: WE're on a deadline.
Marquez: Roof doesn't need to be replaced.
Hulsey: Roof had a leak
Chambers. I can only help you since 2015
Ramsay: Watched the video
Chambers: What video are we talking about?
Ramsay: Talking about video of district court meeting.
Chambers: Oh, okay.
Side note here. That's my video, from Somervell County Salon.
Ramsay: The commissioners do get a cost of living raise unless you didn't get one.
Ramsay: The county and the city both are in that predicament. Anything that I say is not my opinion, it's the facts that I researched with the city dollars. I respect and like Lori and Frank Abbott but as an elected official, I"m not going to go through all the financial obligations, we have some extreme financial obligations, if you want me to make a list of them I'll be glad to. There is one issue I want to clear up that was mentioned on the video. Information that HOT that expo center receives no benefit from these collars.
Chamber: Hope I didn't say that
Ramsay: HOT gets divided, county receives outside, dividec between expo and golf course, used for promotion. Because we want the citizens to promote atractions here, particularly the expo center, city HOT tax gets used to promote the expo center. 6 grants out of CVB, 4 out of 6 are for the expo center or have been given to events. Budget set for this year for promotions is 45,000 of which expo center has rec 20,520 and I have the list here. City HOT tax advertises golf course/expo at radio at no cost to the county, full page add in new magazine goes to conventions, tourists stops, and expo receives phone app for free. CVB/Facebook promotes all events on FB pages. Based on that information, please do not say that the city is not contributing to support the expo center and golf course.
Hulsey: My mistake. The 20,000 you pay
Ramsay Money given to events HOT can't be used to get events to come here, can only be used for promotion.
Ken: I didn't say it.
Hulsey: I agree and I apologize. How much HOT do ya'll get?
Ramsay: I don't know,
Kelly -whole budget based on HOT, about 300,000, pays admin, advertisement promotion, equipment, rentals. Grants paying events to come in. A lot of those events wouldn't come here fi they didn't get the grant.
Moody: How much money has come from you for grants
Kelly-out of the 45, 20,520 have gone to expo events, also $5000 for golf course.
Hulsey: Point I was trying to make, we get around 35k and y'll get 300,000, benefits the city more.
Ramsay: But not all of that HOT tax comes as a result of the expo.
Hulsey: I agree
Ramsay: So tourism comes here, other events including Oakdale
Chambers: Dinosaur World, Fossil Rim,
Ramsay: I'm not saying that the Expo doesn't contribute to some oft that, but they're not the majority
Hulsey: I agree.
Ramsey: City HOT tax does try to help the expo center
Hulsey That's just more money we're putting in
Ramsay: But the city's putting that in, not you.
Dwayne(?) If the expo was to close, how much HOT would you lose?
Kelly don't have exact number on that, 2 hotels that benefit from expo events. Best Western and Comfort Inn and Suites. Most of those people either stay in RVS or trailers, which we don't get HOT from.
Kelly: I hate to throw out a number, hotels don't actually have a program in thier system to know.. (here for Dinosaur Valley, here for Rodeo). Best western tends to know.
? Brookshires, gas stations,
Kelly Sales tax money no way to estalish how much people economic impact.
Chamber: Let's bring is back to city council and the commissioners
Hulsey: it's going to be what can the commissioners court afford to keep open, going to be how high taxes are going to be. It's going to close.
Moody: How much time do we have to discuss
Chambers: Meeting Friday. About to end of our options, hope can give you a date.
MOody: Kind of need to know a drop dead date. How far would you like us to go? We need to know
Ramsay: Would still like estimated cost of what it's going to bring in for consulting engineer? Change and restructure eveyrthing? We need dollar figures . Convention center and events. All the suggestions in the world, my husband went throug the same tthing when Dooley here, they thought Liminant money was going to be here forever, I'm not going that way
Wood: We know we're going to be 3 mlilion dollars short when we go to make a budget so we're looking at every avenue and it's not the fact that we're going to subsizide the expo not part of the picture.. or departments. Have to find a way to amke it up till we start getting money in 2017 from Luminant. wAs the city interested in just taking it and donig what you want with it? Sorry we didn't give the figures to help you
Moody: There have been some things that happened boom boom boom, really gave a refocus.
Moore: City has never recieved nuclear plant money, we've been frugal and saving, we hvae a reserve but it didn't get there overnight, has taken years of being frugal and careful with the budget, probably have 38 cents lowest city tax rate.
Chambers: Lowest county and school probably in the state
Jones: Hate to bring up something like the golf course. 77,000 in the black. A couple of years ago we restructured the way we run the golf course.
Hulsey: Same time we did golf course, did expo
Jones: Still getting commissions on concessions?
Hulsey: getting a percentage of the revenues.
Jones: Brought all finances in house for the golf course. Conceding that you are getting out of the expo business soon
Doug: I am a good listener. What was the cost of the expo center when first built?
Audience, 2 million 470 thousand appsox Expansion in 1993. County ran for 23 years.
Doug have we ever come close in all these years to breaking open?
Commissioner Kranz Frank's statement from last meeting, made statement that operating as operated today he will never be in the black. If you were runnig a business and losing money for 23 years in a row, wouldn't you decide to cut losses and go.
Audience: Never designed to be a profit center
Hulsey: I agree withyou but this county can't afford this type of stuff any more.
Audience (Trena?) You don't understand we have no money
Chambers: Le'ts respect each other, now come on.
Bryant: One gentleman made some suggestions, if you shut down the expo, if get money in 2017 or 2018, reopen? Back to same situaition. Commisioners are coming to very conservative council that makes $10 a meeting, council has not gotten a raise in X years. Bluntly said we're not taking a cut so you're not willing to take this seriously.
Hulsey, 38,000 a year plus expenses,is that he answer to our budget loss? We're not putting money into this to run it anymore. 300,000 this year. We can't do it. Goose lays his egg one of these days not going to be enough to keep this going.
Moody: Finally at a point meeting on Friday, council with some documents, get to city administrator, we pretty well have an understanding, we need to be able to discuss this at council.
Drew: Buys the expo center, does the value of the expo center go down if it's not open?
Chambers Probably does but I do not know that answer. If you and I had a business and we closed it...
Jones: People I've talked to want to keep certain aspects. Events that are profitable, keep those.
Chambers: Or open back up and used.
Ramsay: Ask Mayor, special meeting even if you're gone?
Moody: We need to know the drop dead date.
(? Lone star closing?)
Citizens (Tom?) Basically what county commissioners are askign city to do is to take on the expo center, has never made a penny. Who would do that? County is asking the city to take on a project that is a 300,000 minimum and we haven't been able to run an RV Park to make money, are we crazy?
Hulsey: Reason I wanted this meeting is I didn't want to be accused of not giving the city a chance. I agree with what ou're saying
Ramsay: Does the concession stand and store, do they pay straight rent or commission?
Chambers. Rent and buying inventory.
Trena. And she's also Frank's wife.
Chambers; Let's be respectful. Come on guys
Ramsay Based on that, concession stand coming up in September, straight rent?
Chambers havne't discussed what's going to happen with Mary and her contract
Marquez: Wrangler, Montana,
15,000 a year, 7,500
? (Karen?) Frank has said there's no way it would ever be in the black. What other way can it be run to put in the black?
Chambers: Steve Williams, multi-use faciity. County we don't have those ideas.
? Have to put more money into that.
FrankL So many contestants. Back pen needs to be bigger. Lone Star spokesman, need two pens, they both thought that we could do it, if we had 2 pens, we might be in the black. I'm not going to stand up and say I'm going to make a mllion dollars next year, under our current configuration, Lone Star wants to keep their business in this part of the world.
? Elabroate on study done saying expo brought in 11 million.
Moody: My understanding that it's what we report
Chambers: one more from the crowd.
? School using it, any way for business owners, Fossil Rim, Larry Higgins, gas stations, motels, can't fight the horse industry, but motels benefit. Until we talk to business owners directly affected, one county, one town, work together, but ought to get some of the business people on board.
? Less than one percent of my business comes from the expo
Ramsay: Report that Billy Huckaby showed me based on the state formula brings in this percent. I don't ever remember an official report done by a non-biased organization.
Chambers: Walter Maynard said it would bring about 5 mllion a year.
Condy: Not simply looking at expo center, economic value of tourism. Result of that study was that in 2009, tourism, total, was an 43 milliion benefit but didn't separate it out.
Jones: Any emergency funding from the State of Texas?
Chambers: Brian and I have discussed that but no we have not.
Moody: Documents for what we talked about. Too early in this point of time, hopefully some informatoin on Friday. So many factors. All coming up on the same budget crunch for fiscal year.
Moody: Adjourned city council at 6:47 pm.
***Somervell County then paid a bill.
Chambers: Hey, Frank. Can I see you and Elaine together before we pay bills?
Friday morning executive session, can you be here at 9:30
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