As a means to discuss upcoming incentives and negotiations with prospective developers, the Sherman City Council officially created a new subcommittee Monday night. The new economic subcommittee will help draft agreements and incentives with developers prior to presentation before the full council.
The new committee comes following concerns that were raised by some council members in recent months regarding incentives that were presented to the group.
“We felt that it was important as we continue to grow and continue to have move complicated dealings with developers that we have maybe another level of vetting items before they get to the entire council,” City Manager Robby Hefton said Monday.
In some ways, Hefton compared the subcommittee to the work of the Sherman Economic Development board of directors. While the board vets industrial agreements and incentives, Hefton said there wasn’t a similar body for other developments and projects.
The committee will be comprised of three members of the council, with Shawn Teamann, Willie Steele and Mayor David Plyler appointed as the first members later in Monday’s meeting. Hefton said he expected that the positions would be reviewed and potentially rotated out on an annual basis.
The appointment of the board followed multiple discussions by members of the council, who expressed concern about incentives that were being presented for approval.
In November, members of the council moved to table an agreement between the city and Munson Realty regarding the widening of Moore Street following concerns. The agreement included a provision that the city would dedicate up to $15 million for “the construction and installation of public facilities” despite the contract for the first phase of the project estimated to cost $2.5 million.
A similar situation occurred Monday night as council member Shawn Teamann express concerns during discussions on the financing plan for Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone No. 7. The zone, which covers the Schulman’s Movie Bowl Grille development and the proposed Terra Perpetua mixed-use development, sets aside a portion of taxes generated in the zone for public improvements in the area.
Teamann expressed concerns on what the city was agreeing to finance under the agreement, which made references to $5.38 million in public improvements and an additional $10 million for the construction of a new convention center.
City officials clarified that the plan was simply a guiding document and the city was not committing to any specific projects.