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2011-02-24

EDC dispenses funds to nonprofits,advances park rental recommendations

By Carolyn B. Edwards BCC Staff Writer

If Bandera City Councilman Binky Archer has her way, no one will get free use of the recently erected pavilions in the Bandera City Park.
Archer expressed her concerns at a meeting of the Economic Development Corporation (EDC) held Wednesday, Feb. 16. A member of the EDC board of directors, Archer also serves on city council.
Park pavilion use
City resident Nell Clark had, at the request of the EDC, queried several neighboring communities regarding their fee and use plans at their city park facilities.
Clark submitted a list of recommendations for the consideration of the EDC board. Any recommendations approved by the EDC would be passed on to the city council for final approval. The EDC does not have the authority to give final approval of the fee and use regulations.
The nine-item list of recommendations submitted by Clark included the following:
• Fee for pavilions: a) $50 for four hours, b) $65 for eight hours, plus a $50 deposit for clean-up or damage, which will be refundable
• First come, first served
• No refunds made if party changes dates or minds
• Fee must be paid when reservations are made; no dates held without a payment
• Pavilions may not be rented more than 30 days in advance
• Pavilions are for the citizens of Bandera and visitors. They are not to be used as concession stands for food or drink
• Pavilion rentals are open during city park hours only
• Reservations are to be made at City Hall in person, and
• Maximum is 50 people per pavilion, including adults and children.
Out-of-towners
Archer said she wanted a way to charge anyone who used the pavilions, even without reservations. Unless the fee and use regulations stipulate some fee schedule for any and all uses of the pavilions, she added, "We'll have those pavilions used all summer long and make no money." Archer appeared to be concerned with groups coming to City Park and making use of the pavilions without reservations.
When another EDC member noted that the pavilions were built to serve the community, Archer said, "When I go through the park, its full of people from out of town."
After a spirited discussion that included questions about enforcement, the EDC board voted to pass the nine recommendations on to City Council for consideration, amendment and possible approval at a future council session.
In other business, the board heard reports from several nonprofit organizations receiving funds [already budgeted for] from the EDC for their projects.
Nonprofit $$$ dispensed
Don Sloan, representing the Medina River Clean-up by the Medina River Protection Fund, Inc., reported that last year's cleanup was the best ever, appropriate for the project's 10th anniversary. "We had 250 people participating and about two-thirds were local," he said. The Medina River Clean-up is set for May 7 this year. Sloan said the group separates the trash and recycles as much as possible. Collections have also increased, in part, said Sloan, because "the river's been running lower and we have more access." The group received $500 from the EDC for the project.
Tammi Teich spoke on behalf of the Cowboy Capital Rodeo, which received $5,000. "We use the money for advertising to bring more people into town," said Teich.
Genie Strickland reported on the Frontier Times Museum's popular Cowboys on Main project. "[The program] has brought a lot of publicity to Bandera and to the museum," said Strickland. Cowboys on Main features static displays such as stagecoaches and wagons parked in front of the courthouse, cowboys riding horses up and down Main Street, and gunfights and other vignettes staged by the Bandera Cattle Company. "Receiving the EDC funding [of $10,000] has also helped the museum qualify for other grants," said Strickland.
Master plan redux
In a final agenda item, the board approved a payment of $4,000 to reimburse Mayor Pro Tem Maggie Schumacher for the work she did on the city's master plan.
Beginning in December 2007, city administrators contracted with an outside agency to produce a master plan. When finally submitted, the document was unreadable and unusable. Schumacher, a city council member, worked briefly on the plan with former planning and zoning commissioner Robert Koimn. She was later asked to complete the master plane by re-writing, re-organizing and including appropriate photos and graphics.
After Schumacher presented the draft and completed master plan to residents of Bandera and to city council, council members approved it in 2010.
"I went above and beyond my responsibilities as a council member [on the master plan]," said Schumacher. "I did not take on the project to get paid, but after seeing the amount of work [I did], I asked if I could be compensated." Although she writes grant applications professionally, Schumacher said the city's attorney advised her that since she does not make a living as a city planner, asking for compensation did not present a conflict of interest.
EDC member Vona Dyer demanded a printed copy of the master plan, which had not been included in the members' meeting packet. City Administrator Gene Foerster explained that a copy is posted on the city's website. Dyer said she would prefer a printed copy as there were "several things in that plan that I don't agree with."
Member Joe Hearn observed, "Had Maggie not done this [work] we probably would have had to go back to square one."
"Square one" would be where the city spends another $30,000 with the EDC pitching in another $10K.

Pictured: BCC Staff Photo by Carolyn B. Edwards
Economic Development Corporation board members Horst Pallaske, Linda James, Vona Dyer and Binky Archer work through an agenda at the EDC's meeting Wednesday, Feb. 16. Other members are Don Clark, Joe Hearn and Charlie Fellows. The EDC uses a portion of the city of Bandera's sales tax revenues for projects that stimulate economic development.