You’ve been granted free access to this subscribers only article.
Editorial: Not attacking FEDC, just asking for correct data
Guest ColumnOctober 17, 2012 | 1,887 views | 6 comments
By Jim Lawhon
Fred [Gonzales], I am the guy who stood up at the city council meeting on Sept. 29 and asked the questions that you seem to have interpreted as an attack on the Floresville Economic Development Corp. (Re: “Get the facts straight on FEDC,” Oct. 10).
You must not have heard the beginning of my time at the podium. I was not attacking anyone; there has been way too much of that lately. I said that I was referencing financial data from the State Comptroller’s site and that I would welcome someone providing me with the correct data if the State Comptroller had incorrect data.
As I am sure you know, there have been many ugly comments and accusations in our local political arena lately. I was attempting to take the discussion out of that mode and into a fact-based discussion. The mayor did clear up one bit of misinformation regarding the sale of property to pay the funds promised to the school.
In your letter to the Wilson County News, you confirmed that my information regarding the FEDC board being charged with a violation of the Texas Open Meeting act was correct and not misinformation. Thank you. Since you have stepped up and offered to provide factual data to quell the rumors, I will present you with the things I have heard so that you can clear them up for all of us.
First, my financial issue. If you need the comptroller website, I will provide it, but it has been provided in this blog at least once before. The comptroller site has records back to 1997, and that site is the basis for my question. From fiscal year 1997 through fiscal year 2011, the FEDC spent almost $600,000 more than it received in normal revenue. If it had not obtained the $1.5 million loan in 2008, it would have been out of money in early 2010. As has been pointed out before, for years 2007-11 the FEDC spent more than it received, not counting the loan in 2008. That is why I asked the question about the FEDC operating at a deficit for the past five years. If the comptroller data is incorrect, would you please make public financial records for the past five to 10 years so we can see the correct data and understand the discrepancy?
Looking at the Primary FEDC Objectives listed with each of the financial reports, the sports complex is in some years and not in others. Infrastructure projects are in some years and not others, and the same goes for tourism. The one thing that is consistent year to year is job creation and retention. I personally believe that is the one primary purpose of the FEDC. It is also the FEDC mission listed on the FEDC website.
With regard to issues like this, I have a personal bias. In my job I am regularly asked to justify my projects in terms of how the financial commitment serves the organization. With these things in mind, here are some other rumors you can clear up if you will.
•FEDC obtained a $1.5 million loan for the Rancho Grande Industrial Park. I have heard that the money was spent for other projects and not Rancho Grande. How much of that has been spent on Rancho Grande and how much do you still need to spend to complete your obligation for infrastructure and any other promised improvements at Rancho Grande?
•I have heard that the FEDC has not created that many jobs during its existence. Most of the jobs would have come without the FEDC because of Eagle Ford. Since 1997, based on the State Comptroller reports, the FEDC has spent a little over $5 million. How many net sustainable jobs have been created for the $5 million, not counting those that would have come anyway due to Eagle Ford?
•I have heard that members of the local real estate industry say that some businesses which bought land in Rancho Grande are now trying to sell the land because the park has not been developed as promised. They want to locate their businesses elsewhere.
•This is just a point of curiosity for me and not a rumor. It has been asked before but you said there were higher priority needs that delayed paying the school. I don’t think I have heard a discussion about economic development anywhere that did not say that one of the primary driving forces for economic development is a well-educated work force. I am curious as I think many are about what had a higher priority in benefiting this community than an investment in local education?
Fred, this is not an attack. This is an open invitation with my name on it to clear up anything that you believe is misinformation circulating in the community regarding what I said at the council meeting or from any other source. Please feel free to not only address what I present here, but any other misinformation you feel is circulating regarding the FEDC. We don’t have to agree with each other, but at least if we all know the facts, we can understand why those we oppose take the stand they do.
I would encourage you and the FEDC board to consider expanding the FEDC website and post your past and future financials, hopefully monthly. You can also post the minutes of your board meetings. You can use the site to communicate directly with the citizens without having to depend on the news media and those who attend your board meetings. I look forward to your responses.
Jim Lawhon is a resident of Floresville.
Your Opinions and Comments
October 25, 2012 12:55pm
Fed Up With Arrogance
October 25, 2012 7:52am
Concerned Tax Payer
October 22, 2012 12:41pm
Share your comment or opinion on this story!
You must be logged in to post a comment.
Section A: General News Archives
Agencies nab 7 in human-trafficking sting (February 10, 2016)
Apply now for Miss La Vernia Pageant (February 10, 2016)
Behind the lens: Hitting the trail (February 10, 2016)
BPA students advance to state (February 10, 2016)
Bud Box ends two-decade career at alternative school (February 10, 2016)
Chamber to hold monthly luncheon (February 10, 2016)
China Grove mayor, police chief clash (February 10, 2016)
Commissioners amend Kicaster-area fire coverage plan (February 10, 2016)
Court Update (February 10, 2016)
Dating and the budget (February 10, 2016)
Donate blood to save lives (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: It’s about ‘We the People’ … what will ‘we’ do? (February 10, 2016)
Editorial: National election: Iowa down, New Hampshire to go (February 10, 2016)
Firefighters plan Pancake Breakfast (February 10, 2016)
Floresville mayor to councilman: Sit down or else (February 10, 2016)
Floresville park’s erosion problems prompt action (February 10, 2016)
Free heart health screenings (February 10, 2016)
H-E-B ice cream recall (February 10, 2016)
La Vernia trustees consider $33.2M bond, approve new finance chief (February 10, 2016)
Lean meat still part of a heart-healthy diet (February 10, 2016)
Letter: House fire victim extends gratitude (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Pastors should keep out of politics, stay in church (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Unruly government needs discipline (February 10, 2016)
Letter: Writer says it’s okay to ignore the charter (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Evergreen Underground Water Conservation District (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: Floresville Planning & Zoning Commission (February 10, 2016)
Meeting Watch: St. Hedwig City Council (February 10, 2016)
Oil, gas leasing workshop Feb. 22 (February 10, 2016)
One-stop tax shop? (February 10, 2016)
Petition supporters plan protest rally (February 10, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 10, 2016)
Presidents’ Day office closures (February 10, 2016)
Register for Great American Cleanup (February 10, 2016)
Save the date for ‘Hope in High Cotton’ (February 10, 2016)
Should Christians support sanctuary for illegal aliens? (February 10, 2016)
Stockdale supports apartment venture (February 10, 2016)
Things are looking up in downtown Stockdale (February 10, 2016)
‘Official oppression’ or ‘criminal trespass’? (February 10, 2016)
Agencies uncover $400K in stolen vehicles, parts (February 3, 2016)
China Grove begins vote on tax rollback (February 3, 2016)
Clock running out for Floresville recall issue (February 3, 2016)
Connally expands high-tech health care (February 3, 2016)
Council action changes boards (February 3, 2016)
Court Update (February 3, 2016)
Deputies charge Floresville spurned lover with arson (February 3, 2016)
Deputies investigate recent thefts (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: The demand for villains (February 3, 2016)
Editorial: What’s in a city charter? Is it like a … Constitution? (February 3, 2016)
Eight-liner opponents face deadline (February 3, 2016)
FELPS pools tornado damage claim with city, Floresville ISD (February 3, 2016)
Floresville USDA accountant resigns (February 3, 2016)
Free CERT disaster course (February 3, 2016)
Get a free heart health screening in Kenedy Feb. 12 (February 3, 2016)
Greater LV Chamber to meet (February 3, 2016)
H-E-B recalls cookware (February 3, 2016)
Hold on for now (February 3, 2016)
It’s all happening at Nixon-Smiley Elementary (February 3, 2016)
Kicaster area will have fire coverage (February 3, 2016)
Landfill welcomes China Grove junk (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Apple Pie author extends thanks (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Gonzales differs with writer’s conclusion (February 3, 2016)
Letter: Talamantez truly a man of the people (February 3, 2016)
Life Line Screening event set in Floresville Feb. 28 (February 3, 2016)
Mock Republican Debate Feb. 20 (February 3, 2016)
Nixon-Smiley livestock show set for March (February 3, 2016)
One dead in game-room robbery (February 3, 2016)
Pioneer Award honors Burnside (February 3, 2016)
Pirates Cove in Poth offers after-school care service (February 3, 2016)
Police Blotter (February 3, 2016)
Save the date for Lincoln Dinner (February 3, 2016)
School district cops ink deal with city, county (February 3, 2016)
Second responders to meet (February 3, 2016)
Stockdale, La Vernia units respond to back-to-back fires (February 3, 2016)
Tanneberger is top agent (February 3, 2016)
Weigh in on Loop 410 changes (February 3, 2016)
Wilson County Hermann Sons lodges meet new-member goal (February 3, 2016)
‘Loving’ heart-shaped treats are for the birds (February 3, 2016)