City Answers Legality Questions Concerning The Village at Cisco Project

Recently, questions have arisen as to the legality of The Village at Cisco project. In an attempt to clarify actions taken by the Cisco City Council, the City respectfully submits the following information:

The Village at Cisco project was originally brought before the City Council on August 13, 2018 for approval of the Cisco Development Corporation, a Type B economic development corporation, to expend funds exceeding $10,000.00. At that time, the Council voted to approve the project and work was begun. In mid-November, it was discovered that the project had not followed appropriate procedural regulations with publication of notice of a public hearing on the project, public hearing, and 60 day waiting period As soon as the Council became aware that proper procedures had not been followed, both the Cisco Economic Development Boards and the City Council halted the project and started from the beginning to ensure all procedures were properly followed.

The project was officially published in a newspaper of regular circulation on December 13, 2018 and a public hearing on the project was held later that day. Texas Local Government Code Section 505.160 specifically states that “A Type B corporation may undertake a project under this chapter unless, not later than the 60th day after the date notice of a specific project or general type of project is first published, the governing body of the authorizing municipality receives a petition from more than 10 percent of the registered voters of the municipality requesting that an election be held before the specific project or general type of project is undertaken.” This statue set the last day for the governing body to receive a petition to send the project to a ballot as February 11, 2019; sixty (60) days after first publication (December 13, 2018). Although the statute requires that the City Council approve a project involving expenditures of more than $10,000.00 authorized by Section 505.158 of the Texas Government Code by adopting a resolution on two readings, the statue does not require the governing body to wait sixty (60) days between readings of the resolution.

Although the city acknowledges that proper procedures were not initially followed, as soon as the oversight was discovered, the City Council immediately stopped the project and directed all entities to start from the beginning to ensure the project adhered to all applicable laws and regulations. Staff was educated and re-trained on regulations to establish proper procedures moving forward

This project has been in the public eye for eight (8) months and opponents of the project have made public comments to the City Council on five different occasions since November 2018. To say that an additional sixty (60) days between resolution readings is necessary in order to allow time to circulate a petition is incorrect (Municipal attorney opinions on the mater have been obtained by City Council). The Cisco City Council strives to always take action on items in accordance with the law and consults with municipal attorneys and the Texas Municipal League on all legal matters. The City Council action on this item is in accordance with the law and legal.

The following is the timeline of events on the project

  • Cisco 4B Development Corporation Approved Project: 8/7/2018
  • First Council Action on Project: 8/13/2018
  • Town Hall Meeting: 11/27/2018
  • Public Comments to Council regarding the project: 12/10/2018; 12/17/2018; 1/14/2019; 1/28/2019; 3/11/2019
  • Posting of Public Hearing on Project: 12/7/2018
  • First Publication of project in newspaper of general circulation (Eastland County Today): 12/13/2018
  • Public Hearing on project conducted by Cisco Development Corporation: 12/13/2018
  • Sixty Days after First Publication of Project: 2/11/2019
  • First Reading of Resolution approving project by City Council: 3/11/2019
  • Second Reading of Resolution approving project by City: 3/25/2019

The City of Cisco is an open government. We welcome comments and questions from our citizens and will gladly provide any information regarding this project or any other actions taken by the City Council. Citizens are invited to attend any meeting of the City Council as they are all open to the public and held every second and fourth Monday of each month.

Tammy Douglas

Mayor
City of Cisco

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One Response to "City Answers Legality Questions Concerning The Village at Cisco Project"

  1. Sampson C. Guthrie III   April 2, 2019 at 1:10 PM

    Thank you for posting this letter that Mayor Douglas posted on the City of Cisco’s Facebook page and for exposing it to a wider audience for discussion. By her own admission, the city failed to follow proper procedures for approving this project by the Type B CDC. Once you fail to follow the Texas Local Government Code you can simply start over even though substantial monies had already been spent on the construction? That’s a good question for someone smarter than I am, that is a knowledgeable attorney. Those that are supporting this project and the CDC, on its construction, would like to label those of us that oppose it as being against growth and economic expansion in Cisco. That is completely untrue! We are against a speculative development that has no prospective tenant, or buyer in sight, that utilizes a substantial amount of the economic resources allocated to the CDC. In other words, it is a huge gamble with public monies that independent business peop,le, and developers, would be unlikely to undertake, under the same circumstances with their own monies. It has been no secret that the Cisco Development Corporation (CDC) has had an elaborate plan created for that property they named The Village at Cisco for many years. It’s ambitious and very nice, but personally, I think the location is terrible for retail, restaurants, and a hotel. The point being lost on the public is that if it was a truly worthwhile project, developers would be stepping up to invest their monies and build the strip mall and other buildings in The Village at Cisco. No Economic Development Corporation should be investing this heavily in something that is purely speculative. I dare anyone to identify any other project anywhere in Texas that is speculative that is being 100% funded by a local Economic Development Corporation. Even if it is technically legal, it doesn’t make it appropriate or smart. I appreciate this opportunity to express my opinion.