Jim Sánchez / Conexión San Ángelo

SAN ANGELO – Tuesday’s San Angelo City Council meeting on consideration to hire local attorney Arthur Uhl for consultation on matters related to oil and gas exploration, range land management and other matters necessary for the preparation of the Ford Ranch property for sale was pretty much cut and dry with little fanfare or opposition.

Except one individual, Steve Hampton, did come forward and posed a question to Council members.

Hampton wanted to know specifically more about the Ford Ranch hiring of the lawyer, to which City Attorney, Theresa James responded.

“Arthur G. Uhl III is a board-certified real estate attorney who helped us on the acquisition; he was subcontracted under the Lloyd Gosselink firm at that time and we feel it is more appropriate for him to directly contract with the City rather than be a sub for another attorney,” James said. 

While Uhl has an office in San Antonio he does work out of one here located at the Wells Fargo Building. James informed the Council that with Uhl being a local ranch owner he understands the process. “He has been invaluable in understanding the process and the land and how ranches operate in this region of Texas,” said James.

Hampton then followed up with “This has a multitude of different parts to it. Do you have reason to believe that there is any oil and gas underneath this property”?

“There are a number of functioning wells; we get approached by drilling companies on a more frequent basis than we anticipated about the wells that are out there and about new exploration that is taking place.” James said. “We don’t expect a large volume as most of the wells out there are very small, but we are getting a lot of inquiries.” We did negotiate throughout the purchase a surface protection agreement with the help of Arthur and another attorney in his firm.” We are using him in the oil and gas portion to make sure that the water is protected through that surface protection,” said James.

“How quickly are we talking about moving forward with this sale,” asked Hampton.

“We cannot discuss any details regarding that unless we are in executive session as it does it jeopardize our position on any resale.” “However, there is a ranching and hunting lease on the property right now.” “We are evaluating the process as it is held by the same family who owned the ranch originally.”  We did negotiate as well in the purchase some provisions that protect and enhance the qualities of the wildlife on the ranch,” concluded James.

The City Council unanimously approved 7-0, Uhl as an attorney for transaction related to the Ford Ranch.

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