Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Buyer’s remorse?

These comments were presented during Citizens’ Comments at the Bastrop County Commissioners Court on August 22. Due to time constraints, the quotations from the 381 Agreement were truncated but are presented here in their entirety. It is quite encouraging that the last few weeks there has been a better turnout for the citizen’s comments. Let’s keep the momentum going!!

I doubt that many Bastrop County citizens, even those present in this courtroom today, have actually read the infamous 381 Agreement between Bastrop County and the Central Texas Airport. Most of it is rather uninteresting but don’t let that fool you. This document contains some jaw-dropping nuggets.

Today, I want to acquaint you with Section 10 titled Mutual Assistance: County Cooperation and Assistance. Keep in mind that the wording is nearly identical to the original draft submitted by the CTA’s attorneys in September 2009.

There are only two sub-sections but they are real doozies. Sub-section (a) cements the relationship between the County and the Company:

“To promote the ability of each Party to realize and obtain the economic benefits contemplated by this Agreement (regardless of changes in public policy or taxes or assessments attributable to Company facilities), County and Company will take or cause to be taken such actions as are commercially and reasonably necessary or appropriate (i) to carry out the terms and provisions of this Agreement and (ii) to aid, support and assist each other in carrying out such provisions.”

But the real meat is in Sub-section (b):

“In addition to County’s agreement to reasonably aid, support and assist Company in carrying out the terms and provisions of this Agreement and in recognition of the substantial benefits that the County will realize and obtain as a result of the successful completion of the Project (including the fulfillment of an essential community purpose), upon the request of the Company, County shall take such action as County in its sole discretion determines reasonably necessary and appropriate to cooperate with and assist Company in any Company application to an Infrastructure Agency, for such approvals, consents or permits and any regulatory, financial or other forms of assistance as shall be deemed reasonable, necessary or appropriate for the planning, design, acquisition, development, construction, equipment, operation and financing of the Project.”

Why not just offer up your first-born while you’re at it! Basically, all Carpenter has to do is ask and the County, “at its sole discretion”, will grease the necessary wheels. I can only imagine the litigation that would ensue if the County actually refused to comply!!

A comparison with the Mutual Assistance language used in the 381 Agreement for Burleson Crossing, puts the magnitude of the County’s airport give-away into perspective:

“Mutual Assistance/Good Faith. The County and the Owner each agree to act in Good Faith and to do all things reasonably necessary or appropriate to carry out the terms and provisions of this Agreement, and to aid and assist the other in carrying out such terms and provisions in order to put the other in the same economic condition contemplated by this Agreement, regardless of any changes in public policy, the law or taxes or assessments attributable to the Property.”

Why all the special perks for the CTA? Was the County that desperate? Now, the morning after the con, in the cold light of day, is this Court possibly experiencing a case of well-deserved buyer’s remorse? And if so just what is this Court going to do to remedy the situation? Inquiring minds would really like to know.

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