Negotiations continue on bait shop lease

May 17, 2013

City lake discussed during city commission meeting held on Tuesday

During Tuesday's Sweetwater City Commission meeting, discussion was held on the lease agreement between the city and G.M. Morgan, Inc., the entity who is doing business as Sweetwater Lake Marina for the city-owned property known as the Lake Sweetwater Bait Shop.
City Manager Eddie Brown recently negotiated a deal with a prepared contract, which was then returned by the company with some changes that were noted by Brown at the meeting. Although approval was given at the April meeting for Brown to negotiate the deal, any changes would be brought before the city commission for final approval.
The main concern with one of the changes was that the company has asked that no other competing operations take place, with the exclusion of the nearby golf course and RV park. Several events, such as the annual triathlon, take place at the lake.
Some dialogue was exchanged on the issue, in which Precinct 2 Commissioner Jim McKenzie questioned how the city could control sales at the lake. This type of stipulation, he said, could limit anyone who wants to have a fundraiser or catered event at the lake.
Larry May, city commissioner for Precinct 1, asked if a provision could be included where the city manager could make a decision at his discretion. So that further negotiations could continue, the commissioners decided to table the item while the bait shop continues to run under the current lease.
However, the commissioners gave approval for the City Manager to file an authorization for trespass warning against Vivian Williams and Barbara Gray with the Nolan County Sheriff's Office. The warning covers all public property surrounding and on Lake Sweetwater and also includes--but is not limited to--conducting fishing tournaments on city property or lakes.
Brown described that G.M. Morgan, Inc. bought the company from the two ladies, who were original employees of the business. However, the warning was placed against them after they tried to run competitions on site.
The city manager added that since Williams sold her rights to run any kind of competition when she sold the shop, the only entity that should be in charge of fishing tournaments must be the bait shop. Brown stated that plans are in place to prevent this type of incident in the future.
Also during the meeting, approval was given to reject the oil and gas mineral lease agreements on six sections of city-owned properties on Lake Sweetwater, which were proposed by Eagle Oil and Gas Company.
The unsolicited offers were for three-year leases, but the city was concerned that the work would be similar to what has been taking place at Lake Trammel. Last year, twelve wells were put out at Lake Trammel.
One company even cut down trees at the area, in which Brown said that the area is no longer a recreational property. While Brown did not want to see the same outcome at Lake Sweetwater, Commissioner May added that the actual offers were not adequate, thus leading to the rejection.

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