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City won’t get any return on hospital investment

By Erika Pedroza | Published Saturday, February 16, 2013

Following a 30-minute closed session during the council’s regular meeting Feb. 5, Bridgeport Mayor Keith McComis confirmed the city would not see any of the almost $3.4 million line of credit it guaranteed to North Texas Community Hospital.

“We’ve done everything that we can do to try to protect our interest,” he said. “We pretty well knew this is how it was going to come out. We just decided to not object to the sale, to let it go on and let’s just start all over and head in a different direction with all of our time and efforts. But the people need to know we’ve done all that we need to do, to no avail. It is what it is.”

The bankrupt hospital was sold to Wise Regional Health System last week.

DESTINATION BRIDGEPORT

The council approved by a vote of 3-2 a contract with HomeTown Ad Group for a media services package to promote travel and tourism to the city through Destination Bridgeport. The endeavor is the combined effort of the city, its Economic Development Corp. and Chamber of Commerce, all of which looked into different mediums of promotion.

The city’s $15,920 expenditure is funded by hotel occupancy tax dollars (money that can only be used for expenses that “put heads in the beds of local hotels”), and will be matched by the EDC. Any extra costs will be paid for out of the Chamber’s Visitors’ Center account.

“So we’re looking at over $30,000 for this?” asked McComis. “That’s an awful lot of money to spend.”

The expense includes 15 radio spots a week for six months on 95.9 FM The Ranch (which can be changed to promote different events), the creation of a Destination Bridgeport website and site maintenance services. HomeTown will be responsible for the consultation, copywriting and production supervision of the radio segments, which will bring an advantage through “frequency and repetition,” said Bob Bounds with HomeTown Ad Group.

“This brings in sales tax dollars to us, which we benefit from so it’s not like it’s all for fun and for someone else and the city doesn’t benefit from it,” said Councilwoman Ilene Enochs, who made the motion (which was seconded by Billy Fred Walker and also favored by Scott Cheves). Kathy Kennedy and Bobby Brazier cast the dissenting votes.

IN OTHER NEWS

The council also:

  • reviewed the fourth payment request from Siemens Inc. for the performance contract project approved in August. The $397,100 disbursement covers a small portion of each of the three elements of the project – changing all water and electric meters to an automated metering infrastructure (AMI) system; replacing existing lighting fixtures in city facilities with more energy-efficient options; retrofitting street lights with more efficient induction units. The project is 65 percent done.
  • heard the 2012 racial profiling statistics report and analysis from Police Chief Randy Singleton. In 2012, his officers made 1,986 vehicle stops – of which 1,472 were Caucasian, 451 Hispanic, 50 African, 11 Asian and one each Middle Eastern and Native American. The race of 1,944 of those was not known prior to the stop. Of the total stopped, 1,749 resulted in a citation, 117 in arrest and 120 in both; and 272 searches were conducted – 180 of which were not consented. Police departments across the state are required to record the information to submit to the Texas Commission on Law Enforcement Officer Standards and Education (TCLEOSE).
  • approved a budgeted $34,862.75 agreement with Laserfiche Software Maintenance and Support agreement with Franklin Digital Solutions for records management software that will be utilized by several city departments.
  • extended an agreement with Rick’s Auto Repair and Towing to be the primary wrecker service used by the city and its police department.
  • approved using a $3,000 stipend the city’s library receives from the county to continue its contract with OverDrive Inc. for ebook services. The county provides the city the reimbursement in exchange for providing library services to out-of-city residents.
  • extended a facility use agreement with the Bridgeport Youth Association for use of Lawdwin Ball Fields for the spring and fall 2013 baseball, soccer and softball seasons.
  • authorized a direct deposit form and authorized Mayor McComis, City Administrator Brandon Emmons, City Secretary Jesica McEachern and Director of Financial Services Amy Standard to sign contractual documents associated with the Texas Community Development Block Grant Program.
  • made no motion on a request by David Correll State Farm Insurance for $1,461 Main Street Matching Facade funds to replace the sign panel outside his business with one that features the new State Farm logo and to upgrade the lighting to be more energy efficient because “it would not bring about any historical value,” which is the grant’s purpose.
  • approved the minutes of the Jan. 15 regular council meeting and
  • reviewed the Jan. 17 through Feb. 6 payment report.

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