Economic development steering committee meets to discuss SR2O concerns

Special to the Current

The Economic Development Steering Committee and Council has called a meeting for Thursday at 9 a.m. to discuss local concerns about the SR2O proposed tire pyrolysis plant.

The meeting will be held at the GRISD Technology Center.

Larry P. Smith, the committee’s chairman, said in a written statement that the meeting was requested by several members “who are concerned by the negative comments and innuendos directed toward SR2O and how they may reflect on this organization and our partner, the Center For Innovation.”

“The meeting will be devoted to the proposal by SR2O and how its acceptance or denial will affect all citizens of Glen Rose and Somervell County,” Smith added. “Seeking and arriving at the truth are paramount and we will address the statements and comments that have been made.”

Smith also submitted the following article for publication in both local newspapers:

“Somervell County has been offered an opportunity to solve the tax revenue shortage that we are facing today and, undoubtedly, will face to a greater extent in the future. The taxable value of the nuclear plant has spiraled down and will continue to do so. Whether this offer by SR2O is the answer remains open but, it must be evaluated clearly by Somervell County officials and those they call upon for an unbiased professional opinion. The questions asked by nearby residents to the site and the answers given by SR2O representatives should be validated by independent authorities who have no financial or emotional stake in the outcome.

“Obviously, the homeowners and landowners in the area are concerned about their safety and their country lifestyle that is already in the shadow of a nuclear power plant. The owners and interested parties in SR2O have a vested interest in the success of their venture. They have selected a site for their first permanent facility and ¬†¬†have expressed a desire to be accepted and become a part of the community. Luminant has managed to accomplish that goal. Now, we must evaluate a new company`s plan to locate near the power plant and bring an end to our financial dilemma. Replacing the shortfall created by the most recent devaluation is the current priority but, more devaluations are coming and we must prepare, this time, before they come. The financial difficulty being experienced by Luminant`s parent company is another reason for concern.

“While fully evaluating this company, we must not lose sight of the fact that we are at an economic crossroad that dictates positive action be taken to correct a revenue shortage that will only increase. I have already stated that SR2O must be fully evaluated and their answers to the questions validated by unbiased professionals but, this must be addressed on the basis of what is best for the community as a whole. This can and should be accomplished judiciously as well as promptly for no one will be well served by delay. Once this is done so that a wise decision based on facts is reached, we can move forward to accept the proposal by SR2O or seek a suitable replacement. Doing nothing is not an option.

“The first step in the validation process has already been taken by the Center For Innovation. Their recommendation of SR2O to Somervell County is based on a thorough knowledge of new technologies and wide experience as well as contacts in the field. CFI receives no additional fees or commissions if its referrals are acted upon and, as a non- profit, operates solely for the benefit of its partners to bring new proven technology. To turn our back on the recommendation by CFI without fully evaluating its counsel would be counter productive to a relationship that was entered into after local leaders thoroughly investigated CFI and its purpose. CFI is widely respected by universities, major corporations, government agencies and its partners.

“Sound economic development that is properly carried out for the public good and adheres to a policy that brings benefit to the entire community is essential. Had we better addressed economic development in the past and planned for the future, we would not find ourselves in the predicament that we are in today. Unless we expand our economy, increase our tax base and create additional revenue, taxes will have to be drastically increased, services reduced or both. Neither is acceptable. This opportunity has been presented to us because we have a need and because we asked for a company that would not bring smoke stacks, pollution and other environmental problems. It should be remembered that the EPA has approved this technology. In addition, we need the 131 new jobs, the payroll, new housing and to strengthen our economy.

Is this the one? The Commissioners Court, with due diligence and input from all citizens, must make that decision.

“I will close with a little story told years ago.

“A man was standing on his porch with water rising around his house. Two neighbors came by in a pickup and offered him a ride before the water rose. ‘God will take care of me,’ was his answer. After he had climbed to the roof to avoid the rising water, a man came by in a boat and offered to rescue him. Once again, he answered, ‘God will take care of me.’ Perched on top of the chimney with his home engulfed by the still rising water, a helicopter pilot yelled for him to grab the ladder and he replied, ‘God will take care of me.’ After drowning and entering Heaven, he asked, ‘God, why didn’t you take care of me?’ God replied, ‘What are you talking about? I sent two neighbors in a pickup, a man in a boat and a helicopter. You turned them all down.’

“I am not knowledgeable enough to know if SR2O is the pickup, the boat or the helicopter for Somervell County but, I do know, ‘The water is rising!’ and it is time to make tough decisions-and to base them on hard facts.”


5 Responses to Economic development steering committee meets to discuss SR2O concerns

  1. Larry Smith Reply

    March 27, 2014 at 1:31 pm

    I do not have the water usage figure in front of me but, it was reported,checked by County and Water District officials and a determination made that we have ample water supply. I agree with Suzanne: “it just does not rain much anymore”.
    Alvarado was the first choice and SR2O contacted them last fall. They were moving slowly and SR2O came to Somervell County because they were assured that we could move faster. That proved to not be the case. The negative publicity and the unfounded internet accusations drove them away. However, another “player” did cause Alvarado to re-evaluate their position and move faster.
    White Bluff and I disagree on the solution to our financial woes.

  2. Suzanne Gentling Reply

    March 19, 2014 at 8:37 pm

    I’d like to know how much water usage this process requires. I think this question should be on the top of the list for new industry that wants to come to town since it just doesn’t rain much anymore.

    • Kathryn Reply

      March 25, 2014 at 9:15 am

      We were working on an investigative piece, Suzanne, and contacted the company to request an interview. No one responded. Before we had a chance to run our story, the company pulled out…although it looks like it was “playing” Somervell County to entice Alvarado to strike a deal since company officials said they wanted to be in Alvarado all along. See the latest story about that in the Cleburne Times-Review.

  3. White Buff Reply

    March 18, 2014 at 7:54 pm

    What a bunch of hot air, why don’t we get real about the problem, MONEY, do you really think this SR2O nonsense will help, of course not, it has been tried over and over, yes the process works, but it simply takes to much energy to make it happen. Why don’t we just manage the money and issues we have and trim the fat.Instead of trying to find more money by grasping at straws like SR2O, lets plug the leak, after all if we don’t do something different we will be right back in this financial position even if we did find the river of gold.

    • Kathryn Reply

      March 18, 2014 at 11:33 pm

      Thank you, Clint, for your comments.

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