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Warehouse postponed
by Gary Kent
Apr 15, 2011 | 1486 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Kay and Associates and Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance have asked the Bee Development Authority to defer proceeding with the construction of a 38,000-square-foot, $1.8 million warehouse at the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex.

“As we shared with you, at the time we supported the grant process, the visible workload and congestion within the hangars warranted expeditious pursuit of a storage option that the BDA rallied to and addressed with great success,” Greg Kay, president of Kay and Associates, Inc., said in a letter this week.

“Currently, however, the general business and budget climates have pushed out the near term prospect of significant growth that would support application of funds against the warehouse implementation.”

Letter read to BDA board

BDA Board President Laura Fischer shared the letter from Kay with other BDA board members at a meeting at Chase Field Thursday evening.

“We appreciate Sikorsky and Kay and Associates telling us that it is in their best interest and ours to reschedule the project of the warehouse at this time,” Fischer said in a prepared statement.

“Our contract with the state (for more than $600,000 in grant funds from the Governor’s Office of Military Preparedness) will need to be finalized by Aug. 1, 2013. If the BEIC is willing to postpone, then we would like to see the date on our contract with them changed to Aug. 1, 2013, also,” Fischer said.

“It is our intent to re-evaluate with Sikorsky and Kay and Associates in the middle of 2012 this warehouse project. We must remember that Sikorsky and Kay’s business plan is proprietary but they are trying to be as transparent with the BDA as possible so as to best serve our community’s interest,” Fischer said.

Council agenda item removed

Beeville’s City Council had been expected to include the second reading and possible action on the request for the 4B funds at its Tuesday night agenda. But the item was not on that agenda.

That reading, if approved, would have allowed the city to provide the BDA with $1.2 million in 4B sales tax funds to help build the warehouse.

That 4B sales tax grant had been approved by a vote of the Beeville Economic Improvement Corporation board at an earlier meeting.

Only one member of that board, Jessy T, Garza, had voted against that recommendation.

He also had been critical of the way the BDA’s request had been handled and accused BDA representatives of meeting with BEIC members in an unethical manner, resulting in a compromise of the 4B grant process.

Garza adamantly opposed to deal

Garza did make a statement during the hearing of visitors portion of Tuesday’s council meeting. Garza stressed the fact that he was speaking as a private citizen and was not, in any way, representing the BEIC.

“I assume all of you know the BDA’s $1.2 million warehouse grant proposal has been scuttled,” Garza told the council.

“Rather than dwell on the pluses and minuses of that proposal, I think it is much more important for you, as members of the city council, to ask critical questions like how it was, in the face of very compelling reasons, dictating actions to the contrary, the proposal was still overwhelmingly approved by the BEIC.”

“Why it was the performance agreement approved by the BEIC failed to protect the community’s tax dollars through the dilution of key provisions and how it was that the agreement could possibly have been executed even though it was not approved in its final form by the BEIC and City Council never even had an opportunity to pass judgment on the agreement?” Garza asked.

“I can tell you, I do not know how the BEIC will now void an agreement it never approved,” Garza said.

‘Tail wagging the dog’

Garza told the council that

“this is what happens when the grant process becomes compromised.”

He accused those involved in approving the grant request with promoting it “not on its merits, rather on simply getting it approved. This is what happens when the Texas Open Meetings Act is violated. This is what happens when the tail wags the dog.”

“I still remember one of the directors stating that if we chose Option I, the BDA would not accept it, so the more palatable Option II had to be approved,” Garza said.

“I think that statement said it all. We lost sight of the fiduciary responsibility that was placed on us by Texas law and the taxpayers of the community. I strongly implore you to see that this never happens again.”

Montez says contract not nullified

BDA Executive Director Joe B. Montez said Thursday morning that the contract between each of the parties has not been nullified.

“We’re working toward that end,” Montez said of the original agreement.

Montez added that Sikorsky, Kay and the BDA all came to the conclusion that it would be better to delay the project to see if the economy improves.

Currently, the BDA expects to proceed with the warehouse project by August 2012 so that engineers will have time to produce a design for the building and contractors will have enough time to build the facility before the Governor’s Office Aug. 31, 2013, deadline for completing the project.

BEIC has year to decide

“What happens between now and August 2012 is up to the BEIC board,” Montez said. “We’re not asking for the project to be terminated.”

Montez said he hopes the BEIC board will maintain some money in its coffers so that work on the project can proceed next year.

“The BDA thanks Sikorsky and Kay and Associates for their integrity, honesty and concern about our community resources and we thank the BEIC, the city of Beeville, the county of Bee and the state of Texas for the support they have shown for this project,” Fischer said.

“We have a great community and great partners in economic development that will continue to provide growth to this community.”

Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.
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