Fact Check: Sports Complex

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Fact-checking the Kerrville Sports Complex

The brand new Kerrville Sports Complex opened this week on Holdsworth Drive. The ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, January 17, and the ceremonial “first pitch” and “first kicks” were held on Saturday, January 20. Lots of news coverage has focused on the complex this week.

In an article authored by Zeke MacCormack and published in the San Antonio Express News about the ribbon cutting ceremony at the new sports complex on Holdsworth Drive, the author writes about issues connected to the complex that are several years old and have a confusing history. Here are some of the statements from the article and our fact-checks and context that should help inform readers about the new facility.

Please note that we have not addressed the purely political aspects of the article and have instead chosen to focus on the hard facts.


TRUE: “The city estimates that each six-day tournament involving 500 players or more will generate $1 million in local economic spending — at hotels, restaurants, gas stations and such.”

  • This was stated by Ashlea Boyle, director of parks and recreation, City of Kerrville.
  • This estimate relies on official estimates from the Convention and Visitors Bureau that states at least 3 visitors accompany each player in a multiday baseball tournament

 

NEEDS CONTEXT: “The city issued $9 million in debt to cover the remaining costs of putting in the sports fields. The debt will be paid off using local sales tax proceeds.”

  • The debt service will be paid using 4B sales tax revenues, which are required to be spent on economic development projects.
  • The funds do not come from the general sales tax revenues that the city relies on for its operating budget.
  • The EIC approved the funding for this project, and council blessed it, in 2015.
  • See our white paper on the city’s finances for more context.

 

FALSE: Mayor White was quoted in the article: “I wasn’t opposed to the project at all. I was opposed to how it was funded and how the contracts were structured.”

  • Mayor White voted against the project five separate times in 2015 and 2016.
  • She also voted numerous times against the water reuse pond and reuse distribution lines that were a critical element to the success of the sports complex.

 

NEEDS CONTEXT: According to Mayor White in the article: “[DBAT] have two years’ free rent, and we have the debt service and maintenance costs to cover… We may never receive any lease revenue if they have 20 or more tournaments a year, the way the contract is structured.”

  • The lease contract with DBAT includes a clause that DBAT pays no “rent” on the building as long as they continue to host at least 20 baseball tournaments per year.
  • As stated above, each baseball tournament has the potential to generate $1 million in local economic activity, so up to $20 million annually.
  • DBAT’s rent would never be as high as the economic potential of 20 baseball tournaments.
  • Therefore DBAT is incentivized to do even more public good for the community and host as many baseball tournaments as possible.
  • This incentivization has the potential to greatly exceed any potential rent revenues the city could extract from the building.

The sports complex is officially open for business. Soccer and baseball events, games, and tournaments are already filling up the calendars for the spring and summer. For more information about the sports complex, visit the following websites:

https://www.kerrvilletx.gov/1461/Sports-Complex

http://www.dbatkerrville.com/

Delayne Sigerman files for Place 4

This week Delayne Sigerman officially filed for a place on the ballot for City Council Place 4. The city election is scheduled for May 5, 2018, and Kerrville will elect a mayor and two city councilpersons on places 3 and 4.

Mrs. Delayne Sigerman

Sigerman has served on the Economic Improvement Corporation, the Comprehensive Plan Steering Committee, and the board of directors for Playhouse 2000.

She is the first person to file for the Place 4 seat. Incumbent councilperson Warren Ferguson, who was appointed to fill the term left vacant by the resignation of Gene Allen, is not running for another term.

In a press release, Sigerman stated:

I’m running for City Council because I believe I can add value to planning Kerrville’s future
based upon my experience on the EIC Board, my steering committee involvement with the
planning process of the Comprehensive Plan, my experience on the Board of Playhouse 2000
and the personal investment I have made attending many of the Council meetings to observe
and learn over the past two years. My family lives, works and recreates here in Kerrville so
therefore, I have a vested interested in seeing it continue to thrive and prosper.

Sports Complex Grand Opening

The brand new Kerrville Sports Complex is officially open for business. The ceremonial ribbon cutting ceremony was held on Wednesday, January 17, and another ceremonial opening will be held on Saturday morning at 10 AM, including a ceremonial first pitch and first kick.

Despite many on social media that urged Mayor Bonnie White to “recuse” herself from the ceremony, she, along with former mayor Jack Pratt and Cailloux Foundation representative Ben Modisett performed the ceremonial ribbon cutting.

Mayor White repeatedly voted against various measures related to this complex and was asked by former Mayor and Councilperson Stephen Fine to step aside to allow those that were actually in favor of the project to be the ones to cut the ribbon.

The new sports complex will have an economic impact of about $1 million annually. An estimated 3 visitors accompany each player for a standard baseball or soccer tournament, bringing visitors to Kerrville, heads in beds at hotels, filling chairs at restaurants, and a huge boost to local sales tax revenues.

This complex was built without a bond issue and without raising taxes. A large portion of the cost, including the land, was donated by the Cailloux Foundation. The Kerrville Economic Improvement Corporation (or EIC) provided the remainder of the funding through 4B sales tax revenues.

The city’s Parks Department will maintain the grounds and oversee the soccer field administration, while DBAT, a tenant within a large indoor practice facility, will coordinate the baseball tournaments.

Bill Blackburn enters race for Mayor of Kerrville

In a press release issued on January 12, Bill Blackburn announced his candidacy for Kerrville’s mayor. The election is scheduled for May 5, 2018. The incumbent mayor is Mrs. Bonnie White, who was elected in May 2016.

Mr. Blackburn has been a Kerrville resident since 1984, and is a retired pastor from Trinity Baptist Church of Kerrville. In the 30+ years he has lived in Kerrville, Blackburn has served in various leadership capacities including Habitat for Humanity, Christian Assistance Ministries (CAM), Christian Women’s Job Corps, Salvation Army, State Hospital, Community Foundation, and the City’s Comprehensive Plan Committee of 2002.

In his press release, Blackburn stated:

I believe Kerrville is at a critical time as we look to the future for our city… [Carrying out the mission of the new comprehensive plan] requires hard work, visionary leadership, and someone who is willing to bring people together to get things done and to see goals met. Therefore, I humbly announce my candidacy for the position of mayor of Kerrville. I look forward to leading Kerrville into the future, beginning in 2018.

Mr. Bill Blackburn

Fine urges Mayor White to move aside during Sports Complex ribbon cutting

EDITOR’S NOTE: The following letter was submitted for publication on Kerrville United by Mr. Stephen Fine, former mayor and councilperson on the City of Kerrville City Council. Mr. Fine is referring to the ribbon cutting for the new Athletic Complex on Holdsworth Drive, scheduled to be held on January 17. Here is the letter in its entirety, published with permission.

Aerial view of the Sports Complex on Holdsworth Drive in Kerrville.

Aerial view of the Sports Complex on Holdsworth Drive in Kerrville.


Mayor White,

The public is aware of your voting record and opinion of the Athletic Complex. I would hope that you would do the right thing and move aside so that Former Mayor Jack Pratt can perform the ribbon cutting. You were adamantly opposed to this project during his tenure as Mayor. It would be insincere to now stand in front of the town and tell everyone how great it is for our community. The coumcilmembers that voted for this project received a lot of hostility and accusations from the people in “your corner” during this process. I would hope that you would give credit where credit is due now that it has come to fruition.

Then current Mayor Pratt graciously stood with Former Mayor Wampler and Former Mayor Bock during the opening ceremony for the new City Hall. Former Mayor Bock actually cut the ribbon! Of course they all supported the project. During the opening ceremonies for the Holdsworth Drive Extension, then Mayor Smith, Former Mayor Low and myself all participated. Of course we all supported the project. Former Mayor Low and I dedicated the Scott Schreiner Golf Course remodel together upon completion which we both supported. The pressures and funding for these projects were born under the previous Mayor’s terms for which the current Mayor recognized and respected their participation and contribution to the community in the necessary leadership. The difference, Mayor White, is you did not support this project and do not have the decency to allow former Mayor Prattt the proper honor of opening these fields to the public and sharing this incredible gift from the Cailloux foundation.

As a Former Mayor I encourage you to do the right thing and move aside. As a watchful citizen, not doing so would be disrespectful to the public to try and take credit for something you strongly opposed with your words and vote.

Stephen P Fine
Former Mayor of Kerrville
Former Councilmember Place 1
Former Councilmember Place 2

First Council Meeting of 2018

Kerrville’s City Council held its first meeting of 2018 on Tuesday evening, January 9, in council chambers. This meeting was a first test run for a new electronic agenda and electronic voting mechanism, which made for some slow-going for parts of the night’s agenda, as IT consultants had to help staff and council through some of the process of casting votes electronically. When this system gets up and running, it should help streamline the record-keeping process and make the meeting minutes more accurate. On the agenda for Tuesday night included several items of note.

The full video of the meeting is available here, and a summary is provided below.

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City Council Meeting Agenda for January 9, 2018

The Kerrville City Council will hold its first regular meeting of 2018 tonight at Kerrville City Hall. This is the first meeting since the December 12 meeting, the highlight of which was the ousting of EIC Member James Wilson. This evening, one of the first items on the agenda is a Resolution of Commendation for James Wilson and Paul Stafford (who resigned the EIC in protest following the termination of Wilson). Typically the mayor gives out these commendations, so we watch with interest to see how that plays out this evening.

Agenda for Tonight

  • Ordering a General Election for May 5 – This is the official resolution that authorizes the May election, which will include on the ballot the Mayor, Place 3, and Place 4.
  • Rejection of all bids for Sports Complex irrigation pond – Both bids exceeded the city’s budget for this project, so council will consider rejecting the bids and re-scoping the project.
  • Amending “home occupation” in Zoning Code – First reading of the proposed ordinance that would change the definition of “home occupation” and how homeowners are allowed to do commercial business in residential-zoned districts. Apparently this item has been moved to January 23, so we may not hear it tonight.
  • Board Appointments – Council will consider appointing members to the Library Advisory Board, the P&Z Commission, and the EIC. Some or all of these items are eligible for executive session. The EIC appointments will replace the two members who were terminated and who resigned in December.

Other items include some zoning ordinances, interlocal agreements, and other matters. The meeting begins at 6:00 PM and is available for viewing at the City’s streaming portal, as well as on local cable television channel 10.

The full agenda packet is available as a PDF at this link: http://kerrvilletx.gov/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/2857

Election Season Underway

The new year brings a new season of politics and elections at the local, state, and national levels. 2018 is sure to be a tumultuous year in politics as we gear up for a whole slate of races that will have huge consequences for our communities, our states, and our nation.

Kerrville United wants to remind you that even though the majority of the news coverage will feature breathless reports about the primaries and the November general elections, one of the most consequential elections of the year — as far as what will affect your daily life perhaps more than any other — is the City of Kerrville election slated for May 5, 2018.

What’s on the Ballot?

This May, Kerrville will elect a mayor and two councilpersons. Our city has a city council made up of five members: 4 council seats and a mayor. During even years we elect the mayor and places 3 and 4. During odd years, we elect places 1 and 2. Here are the incumbents for the seats that are on the ballot this year:

  • Mayor Bonnie White
  • Place 3 Mary Ellen Summerlin
  • Place 4 Warren Ferguson

As of now, we don’t know officially who’s running for each of these seats. Will the incumbents defend their spots? Will challengers appear? As we’ll detail below, the official application for the ballot doesn’t open until mid-January, so we wait with bated breath.

Important Dates

Here are some VERY IMPORTANT dates to remember for the city election:

  • Filing Dates – January 17 to February 16 – These are the dates when a candidate can file to be on the ballot. In another section below, we’ll discuss how they qualify to be on the ballot.
  • Last day to declare as a write-in – February 20 – This is the date that all write-in candidates must declare that they’d like to be considered by voters.
  • Last day to register to vote – April 5 – If you want to vote in the May election, you have to register by this date! Very important!
  • Early voting – April 23 to May 1 – Early voting will take place at the Cailloux Theater.
  • Election Day – May 5, 2018

Who can run for mayor or council?

Most folks who live in Kerrville are qualified to be on the ballot. Here are the requirements:

  • United States Citizen
  • At least 18 years of age by May 2018
  • Cannot be declared mentally unfit
  • No felony convictions
  • Residency in the city limits of Kerrville for the past 12 months (consecutively)
  • Registered voter
  • Cannot hold any other elected office

So, basically, you have to be over 18 and have to have lived in Kerrville for at least the past year. Contact Brenda Craig at the City Clerk’s Office for more information about eligibility.

How does one get on the ballot?

If a candidate meets all of the qualifications mentioned above, he or she has two ways to get on the ballot:

  1. Application and Signatures – You fill out an application and turn in a petition with at least 100 signatures from registered/eligible city voters.
  2. Application and Fee – In lieu of signatures, a candidate may fill out his/her application and attach a filing fee of $100.

The signatures option is a bit trickier than it sounds at first. The clerk has to review the signature petition and verify that each signer is a registered and eligible voter for the Kerrville election. All of the names, therefore, must be legible and verifiable. Also, let’s say you, as an eligible Kerrville voter, sign a petition for a candidate running for place 4. Then another candidate for place 4 comes along and you sign that one, too. Whoever turns in their petition first would get credit for your signature, and the signature on the next petition would be invalidated. So, that is, you can only sign a petition for one candidate in each place or seat.

If you are considering a run for mayor or place 3 or 4, visit the City of Kerrville City Secretary’s web page for contact information. Brenda Craig will get you an application and help you fill out your forms properly.

Next Steps…

If you aren’t currently registered to vote, DO IT TODAY! We have a link below to take you to the Texas Secretary of State’s website where you can check your eligibility and voter registration status. You can register online if you’re not up to date.

Please note that the deadlines for the other 2018 elections are different. Check the SOS website for information on deadlines for the 2018 Primary Election and the General Election.

But most importantly, REGISTER and VOTE!!

Check Registration: https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do

We will bring you all the news regarding the City of Kerrville candidates, campaigns, and election. Stay tuned!

Ousted EIC Member James Wilson Speaks Out

In a December 26 article in the Hill Country Community Journal, former EIC member James Wilson has some strong words for City Council member George Baroody and Mayor Bonnie White.

Wilson went on to say: “Bonnie White’s goal is to have complete power and control. She wants to dismantle all of the independent boards and have every one answer to her. This is a very dangerous situation and the voters best beware.”

White told the newspaper that she would have preferred to hold the termination in a closed executive session, out of public view.

But Wilson is not going away! “I may not be on EIC anymore, but I’m not going away,” Wilson said. “I have always served this community and I will continue to do so.”

Read the entire article via the link below.

http://www.hccommunityjournal.com/article_1a3c8f50-ea78-11e7-99a0-63c5dbb78c49.html