The council heard a presentation at its Jan. 10 meeting from Shannon Matus of J&S Matus Motorsports (JSM) before she requested assistance in providing the additional coverage.
Matus has questioned why the Bee Development Authority, owners of the Chase Field Industrial and Airport Complex, would ask for such high insurance coverage when other venues have required the standard $5 million insurance policy.
The BDA’s board of directors also met on Jan. 10 and ratified a contract with the Matus organization that will allow the company to hold the popular speed event at Chase Field again this year.
The insurance requirement was not changed.
City Manager Deborah Ballí said Tuesday that the $50 million policy is expected to cost the Matus organization about $94,000.
Last year, when the coverage was first requested by the BDA board, the City Council approved providing more than $70,000 for the Texas Mile organizers to pay for the increased coverage.
Ballí said the council tabled Matus’ request for the additional funds until representatives from the city could confer with the BDA concerning the requested coverage. She said she does not understand why the BDA needs that much insurance coverage if the complex’s major tenant, Sikorsky Aerospace Maintenance, is no longer operating there.
“The industry standards, even for NASCAR events, is $5 million,” Ballí said. “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Ballí said she requested a joint meeting for this Thursday with representatives of both the City Council and the BDA board present.
“But they declined our request,” Ballí said.
The Texas Mile provides an opportunity for car, truck and motorcycle enthusiasts to run their vehicles at top speed for one mile from a rolling start.
The vehicles make their runs down the former naval air station’s crosswind runway.
State-of-the-art timing systems record the speeds of the participants and those speeds are flashed up on a lighted board for spectators to see. Vehicles routinely break 200 mph during the mile run.
Approximately 250 participants take part in the event twice a year, in March and October. Participants bring along family members, crew members and others to help prepare the vehicles for their runs.
Participants come from throughout North America and several foreign countries to take part in the event.
In addition, thousands of spectators flock to Beeville to see the vehicles run.
The event fills up all the local motel rooms, restaurants and many retail businesses during the three days of racing the clock.
That means that the event meets one of the most significant requirements for the use of the city’s so-called HOT funds, putting heads in beds.
In other business on Jan. 10, the council voted to:
— Approve a design proposal from Mary McLaughlin Cusak as part of the Texas Department of Transportation 2013 grant for routine airport maintenance program. The design specifications are expected to cost the city $3,600.
— Appoint Gilbert Herrera to replace Henry Torralva as a member of the Civil Service board. Torralva resigned from that board.
— Reappoint David Cruz to the Parks and Recreation board and name Tristen Martinez to replace resigning member Scott Childress.
— Authorize recently appointed City Secretary Barbara Treviño as a signatory for the city’s bank account.
— Approve reimbursing moving expenses for the city manager.
— Authorize the city to purchase a Cushman Truckster from GCM at a price of $19,951.19.
— Approve the purchase of a Jaconsen Greensking mower from GCM at a cost of $23,815.24.
Gary Kent is a reporter at the Bee-Picayune and can be reached at 358-2550, ext. 120, or at reporter@mySouTex.com.