Tuesday, May 26, 2015

COSADC Board to Hear Sales Tax Declined 5.35%

After forty two months of increases (on a same month basis) City of San Angelo sales taxes finally fell short.  April 2015 sales taxes fell nearly $50,000 from April 2014.  The oil boom may return but San Angelo has one definitive sign of decreased economic activity, just in time for the opening of the new Marriott Courtyard.   

The Development Corporation Board will consider the sale of fire damaged space formerly occupied by MedHab LLC.  Sunbelt Construction LLC will pay $100,000 for the building at 2009 W. Beauregard.  Michael Biggerstaff's Sunbelt Construction shows a 2001 W. Beauregard address.  Documentation in the board packet indicated losses of $650,000 from the fire and no definitive cause.

The Board will discuss economic development agreements with Hirschfeld Energy and MedHab LLC during an executive session.  An employment update showed MedHab with three employees.  Over three years ago City Council provided MedHab a $3.6 million economic development package hoping for 227 jobs, with 85 of those jobs in Phase 1. 

We'll see what else is revealed in tomorrow's COSADC board meeting.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Fleming Experiences City Blob

City Councilman Rodney Fleming expressed his frustration on the lack of movement on his request to study curb cut water harvesting,originally made in March 2014.  An update occurred in December 2014 by City Engineer Karl Bednarz.  Bednarz left city employment in April 2015.  San Angelo Live reported Fleming's reaction to the latest presentation on the topic:

“This is before you, so I’m not getting on to you, but not a single thing has been done on this in the last 18 months. I’m furious. This is unbelievable,” Fleming said red faced. “You just gave me a list of things that need to be done and it’s everything. It’s unbelievable. I’ve been told every three or four months this is getting worked on and there has been nothing done on this thing. Again not your fault, but this thing better get done. We need to have this in place just because we got a ton of rain last night doesn’t matter, people need to be looking towards the future and this is a viable option for residence in our city to use this. I am blown away that nothing was done in 18 months. I’ve been in this position for 18 months and I’ve been told that this is being worked on and not a single thing was done.” 
That sums up the history of San Angelo's water leadership under Will Wilde and Ricky Dickson.  City Councilman Kendall Hirschfeld repeatedly asked the same pair to draft an incentive program for citizens to conserve water.  Such programs are common in other Texas communities.  Hirschfeld had his first Water Advisory Board meeting and faces fulfilling his long time request in his new role.

City staff ignored requests that allow citizens more power in the water equation. Wilde and Dickson protected water revenues at every turn, primarily through non-listening and inaction.  Councilman Fleming is the latest to experience this pattern.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Mr. Riley: The Spence Conundrum

San Angelo's Water Advisory Board is new and improved, a far cry from the rubber stamp version under former Water Chief Will Wilde and the non-entity under his replacement Ricky Dickson.  The new Water Chief Bill Riley gave an update on the Hickory Aquifer.  He deferred to Board members saying:

 "I know that most of you are more familiar with the Hickory Project than I am."
Riley went on to talk about Lake Iviie and E.V. Spence Reservoir.

"Spence Reservoir is the other reservoir.  Their water is made available to San Angelo.  It is virtually dry.  It has not picked up any significant water so it doesn't play into the equation right now."
Spence picked up nearly 6,000 acre feet in the last month, going from 9,029 to 14,770 acre feet.  That's roughly the amount in the North and South Pools at Twin Buttes Reservoir.  How is one critical to our water supply and the other irrelevant? 

The answer is we can get Twin Buttes water to our treatment plant.  Riley's predecessor said this in 2009 to an earlier version of the Water Board.

Mr. Wilde stated the Lake Spence water supply pipeline has experience problems and issues, primarily due to the materials used; therefore not a viable water source.
Wilde used a bad Spence pipeline to justify construction of the Hickory pipeline.  Surface water comes and goes.  Two years ago Spence had 30,000 acre feet and no way to move a drop to San Angelo.  That is if Will Wilde told the truth.  Since that wasn't Wilde's strong suit, what is the status of the Spence pipeline?  How much repair or replacement does it need to function as promised?

Spence is part of San Angelo's water history.  It's not clear it's part of our future.

Update 5-19-15:  Spence Reservoir is up three feet in the last 24 hours.  It now holds 17,158 acre feet. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

San Angelo's Water Board Challenge!

The City's Water Advisory Board met for the first time in years today.  The list of names comes from the prior board never pulled together by Ricky Dickson in his term as Water Czar.  Dickson is now the Super Public Works Director, over water, streets and nearly everything else the city under-funded for decades.  The man who never spoke up about the consequences of chronic under-investment will lead the recovery charge on all fronts.

There's a new Water Board in town and someday the City's website will include the current members.  No word yet from Councilman Johnny Silvas on why Paul Alexander is no longer on the board.  That's unusual from a representative so conscientious in getting back to citizens.

Pray for water, wisdom and current information to rain down on our fair city.

Update 5-14-15:  The Water Board webpage has been updated and is now accurate. San Angelo Live noticed the mismatch highlighted in this piece.

Monday, May 11, 2015

MedHab Shoots for $3 million in 5th Capital Raise

SEC filings show MedHab's Johnny Ross selling $3 million in equity.  The May 5th filing showed $25,000 had been raised with $2,975,000 left to be sold.   MedHab's sales are listed in the $1 to $1 million dollar range.  The filing shows MedHab intends to raise this amount within a year, start date May 4, 2015.  Johnny Ross is listed as Sole Manager of the company in this filing.  The document shows no minimum amount for buying an equity stake in MedHab.  The one investor thus far plunked down $25,000. 

This isn't MedHab's first equity raise.  MedHab completed two rounds before the City of San Angelo awarded MedHab a $3.6 million economic development package.  The company has three years to take advantage of the $3.6 million in incentives.  How might that help Johnny Ross sell MedHab to angel investors?

Friday, May 08, 2015

Hirschfeld Wants Out of Economic Development Deal

Hirschfeld Energy informed the City of San Angelo Development Corporation it wanted out of the economic development deal reached in 2009.  Hirschfeld officials requested termination of the agreement and negotiation of a settlement via e-mail on September 30, 2014. 

City Council met a number of times on this subject.  On March 11, 2015 the City announced it would take legal action against Hirschfeld regarding the agreement.  It hired Cowles & Thompson, a Dallas law firm with an initial retainer of $5,000.  City leaders signed the contract with the law firm on February 2, 2015.

Internal documents show the City and Development Corporation asked for

1.  Job creation and retention repayment for failing to grow jobs and retain them for three years.  Hirschfeld Energy lost jobs in 2011 and 2012.  The City seeks roughly $365,000.

2.  Repayment of tax rebates provided by the City of San Angelo in the approximate amount of $266,000.

3. Both the City and the Development Corporation provided Hirschfeld funds for land, buildings and infrastructure.  COSADC seeks $1.5 million, while the City of San Angelo requests roughly $280,000.

These requests total $2.4 million.  A contract is as good as someone's word.

Hirschfeld's website states:

We stand behind our work and what we do.
 We shall see.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Development Corporation Board to Sell Burned MedHab Space?

The City of San Angelo Development Corporation Board entertained a $100,000 offer by an interested party for MedHab's charred office space on Beauregard, the former site of the Concho Valley Center for Entrepreneurial Development.