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2012-05-17

EDC approves Polish program again

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

The Bandera Economic Development Corporation once again approved a grant of $3,400 to the Polish Sister City/County Partnership during a called meeting held Thursday, May 10 at city hall.

The EDC board had previously approved the grant requested by Elenora Dugosh Goodley, head of the partnership program. When the grant request was submitted to Bandera City Council, which has final approval on EDC expenditures, the council rejected the request. Goodley was asked by City Council to re-submit the appeal, making clear how each item in the request would impact economic development in Bandera.

Goodley has always contended that the partnership, which organizes trips to Europe for groups of people from Bandera and hosts groups from Europe who visit Bandera in turn, boosts the local tourist industry.

Projects that support tourism are legally acceptable recipients of EDC monies, which come from locally collected sales taxes.

City Councilman Binky Archer, who also serves on the EDC board, was most vocal in her opposition to accepting the three grand request. "EDC funds should not be spent on gifts and entertainment or lodging," said Archer.

Goodley responded that the gifts include white cowboy hats which the tour groups wear everywhere they go in Texas and when they return to Europe. "People ask them about the hats and they tell them about Bandera," said Goodley. Funds for lodging will be used to house a state governor who will be part of this year's visiting group.

EDC board member Don Clark said he was under the impression the board had already approved the grant and saw no reason to debate it again.

Member Joe Hearn said, "We're playing with words. We knew when she (Goodley) first presented the request where [the money] was going."

Archer maintained that she would like the request to have been more specific about the economic impact of each item in the request.

The vote was four to one to approve Goodley's request, with Archer the lone nay vote. Board member Vona Dyer was not present.

The election of new officers was not on the called meeting's agenda, although all of the Bandera EDC's officers are currently serving beyond the legal limit of one 3-year-term set by state EDC rules and regulations.