On Tuesday night the Chamber of Commerce held a forum for residents to meet the candidates running for city council. Moderated by Grayson College’s dean, Kim Williams, the forum began and ended with presentations on two issues being decided in this election.
Economic Development Corporation President Randy Uselton answered four of the questions which had been submitted, and which were similar in content. The queries he answered asked what the two propositions on the ballot allow, if voters approve them. The propositions are to recreate the EDC as a Municipal Development District. Uselton said that the EDC has 0.25 percent of every sales tax penny received within the city limits. That won’t change, no matter how the vote goes. As an MDD, the organization would get sales tax money from businesses within the Extra-Territorial Jurisdiction, which, he said, is a 70-plus square mile radius.
The EDC is allowed to use its income only for industry and business within the city limits. As an MDD, it could also help bring industry and business into the ETJ, which, Uselton said, would help put the city in better competition with the larger cities to the south and north of Van Alstyne.
“It allows the city of Van Alstyne and its ETJ to grow, and the ETJ is the future growth of the city as it reaches a population of 5,000 and begins to annex property within the ETJ,” Uselton said. “That could be as soon as two years from now. The MDD allows us to manage the growth of businesses for the city and the ETJ.”
Uselton added that it would also allow the Community Development Corporation to “focus on city beautification and quality of life, and MDD on all other business. It also allows CDC and MDD to work together on retail business or restaurants moving into the area.”
Uselton assured voters that the propositions have nothing to do with changing property tax, only the sales tax in the ETJ. Voters in the ETJ do have their say in these propositions, as they do in the proposed school bond election.
John Carroll presented information on that school bond, $24 million, election. He said the public will get three things for the money: A new elementary school, updates to the current elementary school, and property for a new high school, once the need is there. Anyone wanting to pick up a yard sign encouraging passage of this bond can go to the Benton-Luttrell offices, 906 W. Van Alstyne Parkway.