Devine City Council votes to join Go Medina County

Each city that is part of Go Medina County has its own splash page on the GMC website, Pictured here is Hondo’s page, which features selling points such as proximity to San Antonio, acreage available for development, tax rates, and incentives.

After putting off a decision for months, the Devine City Council voted to join nonprofit economic development group Go Medina County in a Special meeting held last Tuesday, May 23.
Council members David Espinosa, Steve Lopez, and Cory Thompson attended the meeting, as did Mayor Bill Herring, Interim City Administrator Dora Rodriguez, and City Attorney Tom Cate.
Council members David Valdez and Kathy Wilkins were absent.
County government and local business leadership launched Go Medina County in January 2016 to encourage more businesses to expand in or relocate to Medina County. Partners include the cities of Hondo, Castroville, and Natalia, as well as the Medina Healthcare System, Medina Electric Cooperative, Inc., Southwest Gulf Railroad Co., commZoom, UTSA’s South-West Texas Border Small Business Development Center Network, Security State Bank, Community National Bank, and the Alamo Area Council of Governments (AACOG). The Hondo and Castroville Chambers of Commerce are also partners.
Yearly dues are $1.00 per citizen according to the most recent census, or $4,350 total for Devine. Dues don’t have to be paid until the 2017-2018 Fiscal Year budget goes into effect Oct. 1.
The City was invited to formally join the organization in August 2016. City Council postponed making a decision at that time, as well as in September 2016, and at the Regular meeting on May 16, 2017.
During the May 16 meeting, Herring suggested that the City’s participation in Go Medina be contingent upon the County agreeing to participate in a tax increment reinvestment zone (TIRZ) that the City wants to put into place.
Herring, Rodriguez, Cate, and Lance Elliott of TIF Services of South Texas, a consultant for the City, attended the Commissioners Court meeting on Monday, May 22 to make the case for the County joining TIRZ #2, which encompasses the undeveloped land that is bordered by Ingram Rd., Libold Dr., Mockingbird Ln., and Cemetery Rd.
The Commissioners unanimously agreed to join the City in TIRZ #2, at a 70/30 split.
“So the question is, they helped us out, do we want to reciprocate and join Go Medina?” Herring asked. “If we don’t have the County’s participation, [TIRZ #2] is gone, it’s a no-go. We can’t do it alone.”
Espinosa asked how it would benefit the citizens of Devine.
“That’s the big question that we’ve all been kicking around, including myself,” Herring replied. “You mentioned that, and I agreed with you on that, and I’m sure everybody will want to know, how does it benefit us? Right now we don’t know, other than that they’re going to have a County-wide economic development [web]site.”
Go Medina County’s website,, features photos of and information about the County that aims to lure new business and development. Hondo, Castroville, and Natalia each have a splash page with basic information like population and available acreage, as well as selling points for the city, such as location, tax rate, and business incentives.
“The City’s not doing anything, any marketing on its own right now for the City of Devine, am I correct in saying that?” Thompson asked.
Rodriguez replied that there are people doing work to promote the City and help with economic development behind the scenes.
“My thought is, unless we’re going to have our own game plan to go out and start marketing Devine, there’s no reason not to join Go Medina,” Thompson said.
Thompson made the motion to join Go Medina County, and Espinosa said, “Reluctantly, I’ll second.”
The motion passed unanimously, with Lopez saying afterward, “That was a hard yea for me.”
The City is hosting the next Go Medina County meeting in the George S. Woods Community Center on Thursday, July 13 from 9:00 am to 11:00 am.
By Marly Davis
Staff Writer