Sunday, August 16, 2015

No Video for July City Council Meeting with Development Corporation Board

San Angelo's City Council has been busy working on the budget for 2015-2016.  It did manage to work in a joint meeting with the Development Corporation Board on Tuesday July 21st. The agenda had a single item:

Discussion of matters related to the issues, duties, and responsibilities of the City of San Angelo Development Corporation
Documents distributed to Council and COSADC included the Development Corporation's bylaws and City Ordinances relative to COSADC board.  Economic Development Director Roland Pena shared a document with topics for the meeting.  Major areas included:

1.  Strategic Plan Goals
2.  Organizational Goals
3.  Business Retention and Expansion
4.  Industrial Park
5.  LVN to RN Bridge Program
6.  On the Horizon
Curious about the meeting I requested to view the video   Despite holding the meeting on the second floor of the convention center there is no video to watch.

For the second time this year City Council conducted a strategic meeting without recording it.  This is important as direction has been given by Council members in meetings not recorded.  Several years ago City Councilman Kendall Hirschfeld said staff had been given the expectation that employee health insurance would remain flat relative to the prior year.  That secret expectation brought in Aetna with San Angelo Community Medical Center and its affiliated physicians as the sole local provider.

There were several interesting tidbits in Mr. Pena's document.  It indicated a feasibility study for rail access for the Industrial Park was underway.  Grants for rail made the "On the Horizon" list.  Create and update Incentives had Tax Abatement Program in parenthesis.  The solar farm on city land lofted the idea of tax abatement at Tom Green County Commissioners Court last week.

The City plans to shutter the Concho Valley Center for Entrepreneurial Development.  That showed up as "CVCED transition of accounting."  COSADC is exploring the creation of Certified Development Corporation, a nonprofit corporation that could leverage economic development support from local, state and federal sources.

Two additional items made the minutes of the meeting, extension of Interstate 27 and the ability of the Development Corporation Board to vet projects before they come to Council for approval.  The minutes do not mention the Bylaws or City ordinances relative to the Development Corporation.

One curious part of the bylaws is the required annual report from the Development Corporation to City Council.

The Board shall make an annual report to the City Council outlining the following:
1. A review of the progress and accomplishments of the Board in implementing the Development Projects; and
2. The activities of the Board for the budget year addressed in the annual report, together with any proposed change in the activity.
The annual required report shall be made to the City Council no later than May 1st of each year.
I asked if the development corporation in compliance with this bylaw requirement.  If so, how?  If not, what's the plan to get in compliance? Here's the reply from Economic Development Director Roland Pena:

I believe that the abstract information that you are asking about in the by-laws refers to the Corporation Capital Improvement Plan.   The COSADC Board to my knowledge has not had a Capital Improvement Plan.   It is my intention to do so upon being able to identify capital development projects.  At that point, I believe the Plan is rolled into the City's Capital Improvement Plan for review by the city council.   In addition, I do intend to produce annual reports to provide to COSADC and the City Council.

I searched the bylaws for the word "abstract" and this word does not appear at all in COSADC's bylaws.  However, an annual report requirement is in the bylaws and that was my question.  I've yet to see or hear a COSADC annual report since October 2013.  

Council authorized $325,000 for a new audio visual system that will enable recording in any environment.  It will be up and running in September.  Hopefully, that will end the recent series of untaped Council meetings.

Update 1-30-17:  The Development Corporation Board approved Annual Reports for 2013, 2014 and 2015 during their January 25, 2017 meeting.  There was no presentation of the reports.  City staff referred board members to the link on the city's website.  The 2016 Annual Report will be published after staff takes the Board picture.  There were no questions from board members on the item. 

Update 2-11-18:   The City did not record the Development Corporation strategic planning meeting held 1-5-18.  I learned this when I requested a copy of the video from the meeting.

1 comment:

Jim Turner said...

I believe the annual reporting requirement predates the capital improvement plan. Think it's been in there from the beginning. Also don't forget the annual report that is required to be submitted to the state comptroller. Should have basically the same information.

I also don't like the current city administration holding meetings out of view of cameras. There is not good, technical, reason why a joint meeting at the convention center should be out of camera range. The last several joint meetings that city council had with COSADC were in council chambers. It looks like they are trying to keep the public out.