The Devine City Council was persuaded to remain part of countywide economic development group Go Medina after a presentation by Lance Elliott of TIF Services of South Texas at the Regular meeting held last Tuesday, Jan. 15.
Elliott, a consultant who helped the City create its Tax Increment Reinvestment Zones (TIRZ), pushed for the City to renew its membership with Go Medina in order to leverage that organization’s website in hopes of bringing development.
Devine’s membership fee is $4,350, or one dollar per resident.
The website profiles of Hondo, Castroville, and Lytle all state that the cities can offer “incentives on a case-by-case basis” to businesses, which Elliott described as “passive.”
Elliott suggested that the wording of Devine’s profile be proactive.
“It says ‘the city of Devine is prepared to enter into agreements,’ not that the city will consider it on a case-by-case basis,” Elliott said. “We’re prepared; we’re ready to enter into economic development agreements.”
Elliott also recommended adding a map of Devine’s TIRZ to the website, which include a privately-owned area bordered by Mockingbird, Libold, Ingram, and Cemetery roads; a privately-owned area across from Devine High School bordered by CR 7610 and PR 7674; and over 40 acres of City-owned land along IH-35.
“On your recommendation, do we need to add more to this zone?” District 5 Councilman Cory Thompson asked. “Because there are more areas on this map, especially towards the Walmart end that are vacant.”
Elliott explained that some areas along Hwy. 173, including Walmart and O’Reilly’s Auto Parts, were purposely left out of the TIRZ because of how money is allocated.
“We deliberately left those out because the city doesn’t want to put all of its developable property into a zone,” Elliott said, “because the money goes into the zone fund rather than the general fund. And so we could have put the sales tax revenue from Walmart, but we didn’t do that because we wanted to protect the city’s general fund. We wanted a balance of development in the zone and a balance of development outside the zone.”
District 4 Councilwoman asked Elliott if the leaders of Go Medina would accommodate his recommendations.
“If we don’t renew, we don’t have a voice,” Elliot said. “When we take our check with our renewal we say, ‘Here’s our check, this is what we want.’”
A motion by Schott and District 2 Councilman Steve Lopez to join Go Medina passed 5-0, with Thompson, District 1 Councilman David Valdez, and District 3 Councilman David Espinosa all voting in favor.
By Marly Davis