Economic development director hired
by Tim Delaney
Sep 08, 2012 | 2653 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REFUGIO – When the Refugio City Council voted unanimously to approve a contract to allocate $100,000 a year for two years from sales tax funds to the Refugio County Community Development Foundation, it also in doing so provided the funds to hire a full-time economic development director.

Ann Fierova, president of the foundation, said an economic development director has been hired, contingent on those funds and other details.

The city of Refugio has almost $1 million in sales tax funds.

Joe Arredondo III, currently of Houston, has agreed to take the job. He was the chief operating officer of True Electric before he sold the company to Direct Energy.

Arredondo also was a member of the Fortune 500.

He indicated he wanted to move to Refugio to be closer to his aging parents who live in Falfurrias. The new director began work on Sept. 4.

“The $100,000 a year will cover all budgetary expenses,” said Bart Wales, a member of the foundation.

Those expenses include salaries, supplies, travel and other operating expenses.

“This is the first professional economic development director hired by the RCCDF,” Wales said.

Juanita Freudiger, also a foundation member, said she will be Arredondo’s full-time assistant.

“Housing is going to be our first priority,” she said.

Fierova said there are high expectations for the new director, who she also said is very qualified for the position.

The economic efforts by the director will help all of Refugio County.

“There’s a lot of assets that are not being developed here in the county,” Wales said.

“It is exciting and pretty historical,” he added.

The foundation also is seeking funds from the various entities in the county. So far, the town of Bayside has promised $1,000.

Other members of the foundation are Ann Lopez, Bobby Blaschke, Ron Nelson and Ken Dahl.

The council also approved granting the Refugio County Fair Association $1,500 of motel tax funds to advertise in Showbox Magazine and at the Fall Classic.

The council also granted $1,500 in motel tax funds to the Refugio Volunteer Fire Department.

The council accepted an increase in rates from Allied Waste Service. The new rate amounts to 40 cents more per resident or an increase of 2.69 percent, and goes into effect on Oct. 1.

The council discussed continuing to purchase fireworks.

Callie Shreckengost, city secretary, said Refugio has paid $10,000 for fireworks for 2012.

She said if the fireworks are not used by December, only half of the $10,000 will be refunded.

The fireworks discussion was based on a change of opinion by the Texas Municipal League pertaining to using hotel/motel tax to pay for the fireworks.

While Mayor Ray Jaso said he was in favor of continuing fireworks, Councilwoman Karen Watts disagreed.

Watts said fireworks are a great thing to put on using $10,000 out of the tax fund, but TML’s new opinion on what should be used for motel taxes has changed her mind.

“It’s something we don’t need to do,” she said.

No action was taken, but fireworks will be on a future agenda.
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