Featured: Edinburg Mayor Richard Molina, left, welcomes Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen, on Thursday, April 19, 2018, following the mayor’s State of the City Address, which took place in the Edinburg Municipal Auditorium, located at 415 W. McIntyre Street.
Photograph By ROBERTO GONZÁLEZ
Small Business Incentive Program highlights agenda items up for consideration on Tuesday, April 24 by the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors
By DAVID A. DÍAZ
A proposed Small Business Incentive Program, which would provide up to $10,000 each in reimbursements to local firms for the restoration and improvement of commercial property, will be considered by the Board of Directors of the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation on Tuesday evening, April 24, 2018, the Edinburg EDC has announced.
The meeting, which is open to the public, will be held in the Edinburg City Council Chamber at Edinburg City Hall, located at 415 W. University Drive, beginning at 6 p.m.
The Edinburg EDC, of which Joey Treviño is the Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of Mayor Richard Molina, Mayor Pro-Tem David Torres, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember Gilbert Enríquez, and Councilmember Jorge Salinas.
The Edinburg EDC Board of Directors is comprised of Councilmember Enríquez as President, Edinburg School Board Trustee Miguel “Mike” Farías as Vice-President, Councilmember Salinas as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Molina and Mayor Pro Tem Torres as Members.
The Edinburg EDC agenda packet, which contains all the information that is open to the public, is available online by logging to the Edinburg EDC website at:
“This type of grant program will allow businesses to begin improvements on a building that will enhance the facade and the business and help beautify the city,” Trevino explained in his executive summary to the EEDC Board of Directors.
Highlights of the proposed Small Business Incentive Program are:
• Grants would be funded as a reimbursement upon completion of the projects and documentation of the expenditure for improvement is needed.
• Upon approval by the Board of Directors for the Edinburg EDC, a grantee may receive up to $2,500 (two thousand five hundred) to begin a project. The balance of the remainder of the improvements will be reimbursed by examination paid receipts and canceled checks.
• Franchised businesses or corporations are not eligible.
• The grant applicant must own the property which is being improved. If an applicant is a lessee, the property owner must become co-applicant on the grant documents.
• Applicants must be up-to-date on all city, school, county, state and federal taxes.
• If a business fails to maintain the number of employees identified in the application, the Edinburg EDC will reclaim the grant proceeds.
• The target areas are commercial industrial zones where an owner of a business which has been in operation within the city limits for at least 10 years, and has contributed local sales tax revenues, employs more than 10 people, five of which must be classified as full-time.
• Funds will be made available for the enhancement of or improvements to the exterior of facades of a building. Improvements may included enhancements to the facade, signage and display areas visible from the outside of the building.
• Such eligible improvements may include: (Exterior) Windows and door repairs; glass replacement; facade additions or repairs; brick and mortar repairs; awnings; trim repairs or replacement; paint; parking; landscaping; and roof. (Interior) Furnishings; flooring; interior painting; and HVAC.
• Renovations and improvements are to be pre-approved by the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors and will be judged on the basis on need and compliance to applicable city code enforcement ordinances.
• All improvements must be complete within 90 (ninety) days of the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors’ approval. Failure to complete the renovations or improvements within 90 (ninety) days makes the project ineligible for the grant reimbursement and terminates the grant.
The agenda for the Tuesday, April 24, 2018 regular meeting of the Board of Directors for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation follows:
• Call meeting to Order, Establish Quorum.
• Roll Call and Certification of Posting of Meeting.
• Consider approval of Board of Directors’ Minutes for March 10, 2018, March 27, 2018 and March 28, 2018 Board Meetings.
• Discuss and consider ratifying the following transfers of funds to restore the required balance of the Debt Service Reserve Fund for the Santana Manufacturing Project Refinancing, Series 2015 Bond at Greater State Bank: $874,459.81 from Lone Star National Bank to Greater State Bank; and $467,230.88 from Texas National Bank to Greater State Bank.
• Discuss and consider possible action of the EEDC Fiscal Year 2017-2018 Budget.
• Discuss and consider adopting the Small Business Renovation and Improvements Policy for the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation.
• Discuss and consider approval of an Edinburg EDC Logo Community Contest.
• Discuss and consider authorizing the Executive Director to see Request for Qualifications for Architectural and Engineering Services for the EEDC rotation lists.
• Discussion regarding Memorial Park located at Sprague Street and U.S. 281, Edinburg, Texas.
• Executive Director’s Report – Monthly Activities and Meetings.
The EEDC Board will convene in Executive Session, in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act, Vernon’s Texas Civil Statutes Annotated, Government code, Chapter 551, Subchapter D, Exceptions to Requirements that Meetings be Open, to deliberate under the following Sections:
Section 551.071, Consultation with Attorney;
Section 551.072, Deliberations regarding Real Property;
Section 551.074, Personnel Matters; and
Section 551.087, Deliberations Regarding Economic Development Negotiations.
The EEDC Board may elect to go into Executive Session on any item whether or not such item is posted as an Executive Session item at any time during the meeting when authorized by the provisions of the Texas Open Meetings Act. The Board will deliberate the following items:
• Deliberate the offers of financial or other incentives to business prospects;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Aon Group, L.L.C.;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Haidar Properties, L.L.C.;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Auriel Investments, L.L.C.;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Payne Auto Group;
• Deliberate authorizing the Executive Director to enter into a Development Agreement with Oceangate Investments;
• Deliberate the sale of Lot. 6, E.E.D.C. No. 1 Subdivision, Hidalgo County, Texas;
• Deliberate the goals, objectives and evaluation of the EEDC Executive Director; and
• Consultation with Attorney – Potential Litigation regarding Agustín “Gus” García, and Other Legal Matters.
Following Executive Session, the Board of Directors will reconvene and consider taking appropriate action on the Executive Session items.
TEXAS OPEN MEETINGS ACT
The Texas Open Meetings Act is detailed in Chapter 551 of the Government Code. It states that governmental bodies must hold open meetings unless there is an authorized reason for a closed session, also known as an executive session.
Key provisions of the act are as follows:
Governing boards, commissions, agencies and other bodies created within the executive and legislative branches of government are subject to the Texas Open Meetings Act. Commissioners courts, city councils, school boards and certain nonprofit corporations providing public services or spending taxpayer money are among the entities covered. Certain property owners’ associations also are subject to the law.
A quorum refers to a majority of members of a governing body, unless a quorum is defined differently by an applicable law or rule or charter of the body. A quorum must be present for the body to take action.
Posting of Notice
The governmental body must give the public notice of the date, time, place and subject of an upcoming meeting. The notice must be posted in a place readily accessible to the general public at all times at least 72 hours before the meeting. In case of an emergency or “urgent public necessity,” a meeting notice or addition to a meeting agenda may be posted at least two hours prior to the meeting. The governmental body must clearly identify the emergency.
Other Exceptions to Posting Law
Boards or commissions with statewide jurisdiction must have their meeting notice posted on the Internet by the secretary of state at least seven days before a meeting. Committees of the Texas Legislature are not subject to the meeting notice rules above. Their rules are set by the Texas House and Senate.
Closed, or executive, sessions may be held by a governmental body in certain situations. Executive sessions are permitted when a body is meeting with its attorney on litigation or a settlement offer; deliberating personnel matters; deliberating the purchase or lease of property; discussing certain financial contract negotiations; or discussing deployment of security devices. Several other exceptions to open meetings are also contained in the Texas Open Meetings Act.
Deliberations Between Meetings
Under a new provision of the act that took effect Sept. 1, 2013, members of a governing body are allowed to communicate with one another about public business between meetings if they do so in writing and on a publicly accessible online message board. The message board must be prominently displayed and easy for the public to find on the government entity’s website. Officials may not take action on the message board. That must wait for a posted meeting.
The Texas Open Meetings Act now allows for members of a governmental body to attend a public meeting via a video conference call. The head of the board or commission must be physically present in the designated meeting place and the public must be given access to that meeting space. The public must be able to witness the comments and actions of those officials attending the meeting remotely via audio and video equipment and be able to participate via the videoconferencing just as they would at a traditional public meeting.
Also according to its website (http://foift.org), The Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas works to encourage a greater appreciation, knowledge and understanding of the First Amendment and helps to ensure that the public’s business is conducted in public. Since its formation in 1978, the Foundation has helped citizens access government meetings and documents.
The Foundation seeks to inform journalists, legal professionals, educators, students, public officials and individual citizens about their rights and responsibilities as participants in our democracy. With the clear objective to protect and preserve the state’s open meetings and open records laws, the non-partisan Foundation acts as a statewide information clearinghouse and offers guidance and assistance on FOI-related issues through a network of attorneys and through public seminars and conferences.
FOIFT is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) supported through grants and tax-deductible donations from individuals, corporations and foundations.