Sunday, August 28, 2016

City Council Can Educate Public on Economic Development Awards

In their August 24th meeting San Angelo's Development Corporation approved a $600,000 economic development incentive for local employer CalTech.  Longtime Development Corporation board member Scott Tankersley works for CalTech as a Tier 3 Services Manager.  He does not sit on CalTech's board nor does he own a stake in the company.

CalTech's website states two people own the company, Will Welch and Brent McCasland.  However, the company does share profits with employees so conceivably a portion of the $600,000 award, should it be earned, could come back to Tankersley in a much smaller amount.  

San Angelo Mayor Dwain Morrison brought back ethics standards for city officials regarding economic development awards.  Morrison served on City Council when standards were loosened to enable then Mayor Alvin New to stay in office while the city awarded a $3.6 million economic development agreement for MedHab.  New served on MedHab's board and held equity stakes in the company high enough to trigger the old rules.

The Development Corporation chose not to speak directly to the public on the rule and how Tankersley's position at CalTech complied with the agreement.  It seemed like a missed opportunity for an organization that practiced deceit not terribly long ago. 

I trust Mayor Morrison to educate the public as to how Scott Tankersley's COSADC board service is not in conflict with CalTech's $600,000 economic development award.  The opportunity to educate is not over.

Update 9-4-16:  The CalTech $603,050 economic development award is on City Council's agenda for their September 6 meeting.  It is on the consent agenda, so a City Council person would need to pull the item for public presentation and discussion.

Update 9-6-16:  City Councilman Harry Thomas publicly declared his son works for CalTech and recused himself from this agenda item by leaving the room.  Staff and elected officials did not share COSADC board member Scott Tankersley's similar action when the item came up for consideration.

Update 9-25-16:  An editor for the Standard Times did what city leaders wouldn't.  The editor wrote "Council member Harry Thomas, SMD 3, recused himself from discussion and voting on the CalTech item as his son works for the company. COSADC board member Scott Tankersley likewise absented himself during CalTech proceedings, as he is a longtime employee of the company."

Monday, August 22, 2016

Sales Tax Decline 2nd Biggest for Fiscal Year

Sales tax proceeds for July 2016 dropped almost to the level seen four years ago.  Only January's decline of 18% topped July's 16% fall.  This occurs as city staff and Council work on a budget for 2016-2017. 

Friday, August 12, 2016

MedHab's New Website Is Up

MedHab's website finally finished construction.  For three years the public saw a graphic that said "Under construction..  Check back with us soon.". 

Their new site listed MedHab's Advisory Board members but not it's Board of Directors.  The website bio for Alvin includes:

Alvin was elected the Mayor of San Angelo in December 2009.  He served in that capacity until June 2013.  His other activities include serving in several areas for Texas Tech and Angelo State, investing in and mentoring small businesses and operating 4N Ranches.
San Angelo's ex-Mayor Alvin New sits on both of MedHab's boards.  Board of Directors member NNNN LP is the very same Alvin New.

The City of San Angelo signed a $3.6 million economic development agreement with MedHab in August 2012.  This occurred under Alvin New's mayoral service.  

MedHab has taken little of their potential economic subsidy from the City of San Angelo.  The company's new website may indicate MedHab has more developments to share. 

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

OE Renewables Solar Farm Late on Plans

Two years ago citizens learned OE Renewables wanted to develop a solar farm on city land.  The original lease details were not included in the City Council background packet.  They were not shared with the public in the August 2014 City Council meeting.

A year ago OE Renewables pressed for public subsidies from the city and county.  The acreage for the lease increased by 75%.  The Midland Reporter Telegram suggested the company had a mid 2016 time frame to have solar generation up and going.  San Angelo Live and the Standard Times also reported on plans for the solar generation facility.

One might expect San Angelo's Mesquite Solar Project to make the News section of One Energy Renewables, the parent company of OE Renewables Texas LLC.  It did not.

Energy prices changed dramatically from two years ago.  Did they drop enough to cast a financial shadow on San Angelo's Solar Farm?  Is it dawn or dusk for OE Renewables in San Angelo?  I expect the public will find out soon.

Update 1-14-17:  Despite a detailed presentation on the project in late August there is no sign the Mesquite Solar Project is progressing.