By Michael Pineda
The City of Ardmore has received a reply from three Ardmore Development Authority board members indicating they do not live within city limits. By Indenture requirements, those board members are ineligible to serve in the volunteer positions.
In an effort to preserve those members placed on the board, the ADA has drafted an amendment, which would allow any citizen in Carter County to serve on the board.
The amendment would be the fifth in the history of the Indenture and the first since 1984.
For the amendment to be approved, it would have to receive majority support from the city commissioners.
Ardmore City Manager J.D. Spohn said the city has received the amendment and the commissioners will discuss it during their retreat Feb. 21.
The city has six trusts for which it is responsible: Ardmore Public Works Authority, which is comprised of the city commissioners; the ADA, Ardmore Tourism Authority, Ardmore Animal Care Authority, Ardmore Regional Park Authority, Main Street Authority and the Hardy Murphy Coliseum Trust Authority.
Both Public Works and Ardmore Regional Park Authority have indentures that do not allow its board members to reside outside of city limits. Spohn said one park board member had recently moved outside of Ardmore and was notified he could not serve on the board.
The other trusts have different rules in regard to where its board members reside.
The Ardmore Trust Authority allows four of its trustees to live within 40 miles of Ardmore. There are no residential requirements for the Ardmore Animal Care Authority.
Both Main Street Authority and the Hardy Murphy Coliseum Trust Authority have added amendments that allow board members to reside outside of Ardmore. Spohn said the Hardy Murphy amendment was approved in 2001 to allow members that contribute financially and have a vested interest in the events that take place at the coliseum to serve. The Main Street amendment was made in 2011 so that members that own businesses downtown would be able to serve on the board.
"Based on the different boards and their responsibilities, each one has real specific requirements and responsibilities," Mita Bates, ADA Senior Vice President, said. "Some of it depends on function and areas of responsibilities.
"It is absolutely the intention of the ADA to resolve the issues with the Trust Indenture and move forward and continue the great work we have done. We take very seriously the charge we have been given by the city to grow our economy and we are anxious to move forward from this and perform the charge we have been tasked to do."
The city also has 15 additional boards and committees all of which have been contacted to insure its members fall within residency requirements. Spohn said a few issues have been identified.
"We have contacted the boards and are waiting to hear from them," Spohn said.
Those boards do not operate independently of the city as opposed to trust authority boards.
Spohn said what sets the Public Works and the ADA apart is the amount of tax dollars generated toward each trust.
"The biggest difference is the ADA has a dedicated sales tax," Spohn said. "It is not a Carter County Development Authority, it is the ADA and of all the trust authorities, they are set up to deal with millions of dollars. We don't want an adversarial relationship; we are just looking out for the best interest of the taxpayers. We are all charged with that responsibility."
Michael Pineda