The Odessa Growth Company could quickly have an out of doors legislation agency and a brand new accounting agency checking on grantees and their contracts.
A number of months in the past, members of the ODC board break up into small committees to vet outdoors legislation companies and accounting companies.
ODC Chair Kris Crow and board member Jeff Russell had issues on the size of time the accounting agency of Weaver and Tidwell had been given the duty of constructing certain firms had met the benchmarks spelled out of their contracts and have been entitled to their grant incentives.
Not solely had it been a very long time since anybody else had been given the chance to bid on the job, however Crow mentioned the ODC compliance committee had discovered points Weaver had missed.
The board additionally determined they have been fascinated about sometimes having somebody apart from a metropolis legal professional writing and/or reviewing contracts, notably in instances the place the grantees are giant firms like Nacero.
The board has talked about amending the language utilized in incentive efficiency contracts so everybody has a greater thought about when capital expenditures qualify and what constitutes a “discrepancy” or “building.”
The board wants to find out, for instance, if an organization is within the building part if it’s solely been plugging wells or conducting environmental research? Or should they’ve damaged floor?
Final month, ODC member Melanie Hollmann mentioned she and fellow board members David Boutin and Larry Robinson had spoken with a legislation agency that was keen to work for town at $1,000 an hour.
On Thursday, Hollmann mentioned they met and spoke with Jeff Moore of Brown and Hofmeister, who mentioned he would cost town $250 an hour.
Hollmann described his expertise representing financial growth firms and dealing with municipalities as “spectacular” and his general abilities as having “hit the bullseye.”
He was a metropolis legal professional in Austin and he labored on an financial growth handbook whereas the pinnacle of the Texas Lawyer Basic’s Workplace’s Municipal Affairs Part, Hollmann mentioned. He at present represents about 40 financial growth firms.
His agency caters to municipal organizations and that’s why his hourly billing is so inexpensive, Hollmann mentioned. He’s additionally town legal professional for a number of small communities.
Based on the Brown and Hofmeister web site, Moore goes across the state talking on financial growth for Texas cities, together with gross sales taxes, Chapter 380 agreements, tax abatement agreements, tax increment financing, the Texas Open Conferences Act, and the Texas Public Data Act.
She, Boutin and Robinson spoke with a 3rd legal professional, however even he really helpful Moore, Hollmann mentioned.
The board agreed Hollmann and the others ought to meet with Interim Metropolis Lawyer Dan Jones as to how they could work with Moore. As soon as they provide you with a sport plan, they’ll current it to the Odessa Metropolis Council.
Hollmann mentioned when Moore gave them his hourly charge she had him repeat it and it got here as a nice shock.
As for an auditing agency, town put out a request for proposals in July, however solely Weaver and one different agency expressed curiosity and the second agency by no means returned cellphone calls.
Crow later reached out to Whitley Penn to attempt to persuade them to submit a bid.
On Thursday, Odessa Director of Finance Larry Fry instructed the board Weaver provided to proceed doing the identical work they’ve been doing for $8,500 per report, however additionally they provided a second, cheaper choice, Fry mentioned.
If metropolis workers or the ODC labored with the grantees to collect all the related documentation, they agreed to test for compliance and cost $5,000 per report, he mentioned.
Fry famous Weaver has usually had to return to grantees a number of instances to get the paperwork they should confirm they’re in compliance with their contract.
Whitley Penn provided to test on grantees’ compliance for $6,500 a report, Fry mentioned.
The board voted unanimously to ask the Odessa Metropolis Council to rent Whitley Penn.
Additionally they agreed Whitley Penn ought to attain out to Tom Manskey, the director of financial growth for the Odessa Chamber of Commerce, or his workers previous to the compliance evaluation for help in getting the proper paperwork from the grantees.