The program was proposed earlier in the year by EIC board member Jessy T. Garza in an effort to provide Main Street Program-type grants to businesses located in the city but not in the downtown area.
Under the proposal, businesses outside the geographical area of the Main Street Program would be able to apply for matching grants of up to $6,000 to improve the facades of their buildings.
The motion to table the matter was made by Councilman Jimbo Martinez after City Manager Ford Patton asked if businesses applying for the assistance would be required to sign a performance agreement.The agreement could mean that the business receiving the grant would have to guarantee the creation or retention of primary jobs, which is required by state law in awarding other types of grants using 4B sales tax funds.
Main Street Program Manager Molly Young, who has been picked by the EIC board to manage the grant program, said she was not sure. However, she felt the city could be exempt from such a requirement because state law excludes cities with populations of fewer than 20,000 people from the primary job creation stipulation. Martinez said he would like to see the matter clarified before the council gives the program final approval to make sure the grants were being awarded legally.
Councilmen also approved the results of the Nov. 4 election which will allow the city to put one-eighth of one percent of the city’s 4B sales tax receipts into a street maintenance fund.
The measure passed by a total of 849 votes for and 623 votes against. The passage of the issue will provide the city with about $212,000 a year for the next four years to be used for seal coating city streets, purchasing street maintenance equipment.
and other things related to street maintenance within the city.
The program will have to be renewed by the voters every four years.
The election did spark some controversy because opponents of the issue feared it would take money from the EIC which now is being used mainly for economic development purposes and quality of life improvements.
Patton said the program will go into effect on April 1, 2009, and he expects it will be at least 10 months after that before the city has enough money in the fund to begin using it for street maintenance.
“I think it’s an excellent idea,” Patton said.
Martinez asked if it would be reasonable to expect that there would not be enough funds available for street maintenance until the next fiscal year.
City Finance Director Robert Aguilar confirmed that Martinez was right.
In other business, the council voted to:
— Approve the closing of an alley in the most eastern portion of Block 29 in the Original Town of Beeville. The alley is on property owned by the Dan A. Hughes Co. The city maintained an easement on the property where water and sewer lines are located.
— Appoint former County Judge Jimmy Martinez to represent the city on the Texas Department of Transportation’s I-69, Segment 3 committee.
— Approve the first partial payment of $40,581 for work on the depot pavilion project in downtown Beeville.
— Accept the annual report from Bee County Tax Assessor-Collector Andrea Gibbud for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30.
— Approve an agreement which will allow a seismic company to test property at the Beeville Municipal Airport and at the Carlos Reyes B. city park for oil and gas deposits. That decision came following a brief executive session at the end of Tuesday’s meeting.