By LYNETTE SOWELL
At its regular meeting for the month of July, the Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation board took a vote to select its legal representation, voting unanimously to approve the Knight Law Firm out of Austin, with board member Adam Martin being absent from the meeting.
At its June 28 meeting, the board heard from the Knight Law Firm, as well as the firms of Denton, Nabarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech, as well as Nichols, Jackson & Dillard.
In the discussion, board chair Marc Payne said the decision was made to favor the Knight Law Firm for two reasons, the lowest bid and their firm is the closed, based in Austin.
“All of them were good, I just liked (Knight’s) proximity,” commented board member Jimmy Hammond. “I don’t like the idea of someone driving from Dallas to represent us, when billable hours start.”
The Knight Firm replaces interim representation of Dan Santee, who is with Denton, Nabarro, Rocha, Bernal, Hyde & Zech, the firm which represents the City of Copperas Cove.
The board also received the annual audit of the EDC’s financials by Weaver and Tidwell, LLP, but did not vote to accept the report.
Payne did not feel comfortable voting to accept a 27-page document he had just received that day. He asked Ryan Haverlah, the city’s budget director/deputy city manager, how long the city had had the report, to which Haverlah said it had received a draft of the report several weeks ago. However, the report wasn’t completely finalized until July 26, its release date. The report covered the previous fiscal year’s financials through Sept. 30, 2016.
Hammond asked that in the future where reports like this are concerned, if the EDC board could receive the draft when the city did, to which the other board members agreed as well.
Adam McCain, with Weaver and Tidwell, was present to discuss the report and said that was something that his firm would be willing to do in the future.
“We have issued an unmodified, or clean, opinion on the financial statements, the highest level of clearance we are able to give on a set of financial statements,” McCain said. “We did not note any material weaknesses in internal control on financial reporting.”
According to the audit report, the EDC’s net assets exceeded its liabilities and deferred inflows of resources at the end of the last fiscal year by $2,956,585, which was an increase of $651,972 from the prior year.
Also, at the end of fiscal year 2016, the EDC’s governmental fund balance was $3,236,111, an increase of $619,725 from the prior year.
The board voted to table a decision on the audit until they have had a chance to look through the entire report.
Diane Drussell, business retention specialist for the EDC, presented the prospects and projects as well as business retention reports to the board on Wednesday.
“There is one project that keeps coming up and people are asking questions about, Project Big Rig, the truck driving school,” Drussell said. “I spoke to them yesterday afternoon and again today. They have put in some permits and that’s what they’re waiting for before they can break ground.”
CDL Research and Development Group, LLC, will be the first project constructed in The Narrows Business & Technology Park on the east side of Copperas Cove.
In EDC budget discussions for the 2017-2018 fiscal year, Ryan Haverlah said that the EDC’s executive director, Marc Farmer, was considering increases where marketing as well as professional development training for employees is concerned. However, at this point, Haverlah said to make any changes to the proposed budget, to increase expenditures in one area, they must decrease in another area to keep the budget balanced.
Board member Harald Weldon wasn’t keen on the idea of increasing EDC expenses in those areas.
“Let’s see what we can do with what we have right now,” Weldon said. “I’m very reluctant to start increasing expenditures without seeing results.”