By TODD GLASSCOCK
In regular session Tuesday, the Mineral Wells City Council selected a seven-member board of directors for an economic development sales tax nonprofit corporation.
Appointment of the board was the first step in establishing the nonprofit corporation that will oversee expenditures for 4B sales tax collected by the city, said City Manager Lance Howerton.
Board members appointed by the council are Mayor Mike Allen, Mayor Pro-Tem John Upham, Don Crawford, Beth Watson, Harris Brooks, Brad Wilkerson and Phil Garrett.
The board and the economic development corporation was established as a requirement of successful passage of a 4B economic sales tax proposition, Howerton said.
Each board member serves a two-year term.
The council followed up its selection of the board with an approval to establish the nonprofit corporation, known as the Mineral Wells Community Development Corporation.
In May, Mineral Wells voters passed the proposition to allocate $4 million in public funds from sales tax revenues at a rate of one-eighth of 1 percent to be dedicated, in part, to a $56.2 million Baker Hotel restoration project.
The Baker project is headed by an investment team from Southlake, the Baker Development Partners LLC (Baker Restoration Team). That team is in the process of acquiring investors in the project with hopes to get the restoration kicked off in the first quarter of 2015.
Howerton said the last reports from the Baker team indicate they are on schedule with acquiring investors and have been completing a feasibility study.
“Hopefully we will know more in the next couple of weeks,” he said.
He said the economic development corporation isn't limited to just the Baker restoration efforts, though the hotel's restoration was the impetus for the 4B election.
“The board can do other quality-of-life improvements,” he said.
Funds could go toward downtown improvements or any other projects that would build up the city's resources, he said.
In other business, the council approved a 2014 cost of service adjustment for Texas Gas Service, a division of One Gas Inc., which provides natural gas for the city.
This is part of the company's system-wide request for a rate increase, Howerton said. The company covers a wide area that also includes such cities as Graham, Millsap and Weatherford.
The adjustment will come to about a $2.48 increase in gas bills for local customers, Howerton said.
“This is less than what was originally requested,” he said.
The original proposed adjustment came to about $4.25, he said.
The council also approved an ordinance for a temporary closure of 1st Street downtown July 31-August 1 for the filming of “Daylight's End” by Daylight's End LLC Film Productions.
Police Chief Dean Sullivan made the recommendation for the street closure.