The Van Alstyne Economic Development Corporation has met twice since the City Council appointed five new EDC Board of Directors at its recent Council meeting.
The first meeting, held Nov. 20, started with the former EDC Board handling one major item and then turning it over to the newcomers.
That older Board consisted of Steve Riley, Ryan Neal, Marla Butler and Robert Jaska , Together, they approved the purchase of 2.0 acres of land inside the Cold Springs Industrial Park. This acreage connects land already owned and used for industrial development and can make it more attractive to a potential manufacturing or industrial business.
Then, City Clerk Jennifer Gould administered the Statement of Officer and Oath of Office to the five newly-appointed board members — Trent Voigt, Brad Clough, Laura Cooper, Keith Arsenault, and Mark Moss — and they officially took over the corporation reins.
First was to elect the three officers, and those duties went to Voigt as president, Clough as vice-president, and Cooper as secretary.
They also decided to change the meeting times from the earlier morning meetings and agreed to meet the first Tuesday of each month at 6:30 p.m. and their meetings will be held inside City Hall. They also took care of some areas of responsibility regarding their finances by agreeing to make the three officers the signatories for bank accounts and financial approvals. Voigt asked for approval to provide a financial picture at every Board meeting, and he got that approval.
Tuesday night this week, the Board met again, with all directors present. Although the Board meetings are open to the public, and the agenda gives the public an opportunity to address the Board, there were no public attendees nor city officials there Tuesday night.
Kicking off the discussion and voting was an agenda item regarding the possibility of purchasing billboards on southbound U.S. 75 to promote the city and begin introducing it as a northern front door to major Dallas business. Voigt referenced similar branding by the city of Waxahachie, also as a front door from the south to Dallas industry and business. The Board agreed and the Community Development Corporation was to address a similar item when it met Thursday night.
Next up was to go over several possible revisions to the EDC’s By-Laws, which were last modified and approved in 2017. The items under consideration included wording to give authority back to the City Council in several categories, including approval of EDC Board members in keeping with Council procedures and budgets. They are also looking to simplify the language in the By-Laws to keep them in compliance with state requirements.
The Board agreed to have Cooper incorporate all their suggestions and approvals, after which the modified wording will be given to City Manager Lane Jones for his ideas, and this will be an agenda item in the January meeting, also, possibly for Board approval. Once the EDC agrees on the revisions, they will be submitted to City Council for its approval.
The Board also agreed to continue using the same company for its Website maintenance, hosting, and updates. Cooper explained that the cost is fair and reasonable.
At both meetings, the Board discussed possibly hiring a new EDC executive director. Voigt suggested that might be a little premature now, and that each Board member concentrate on identifying what they consider are important assets, skills, and qualifications for an executive director. Moss added that they do need to make up job description before beginning to seek out resumes. They also agreed to have the EDC office phone forwarded to one of the Board members, with them taking turns being responsible to answer that phone so that no calls are left unanswered. Cooper volunteered to handle the bulk of that task, since, she said, she is retired and the others are all working full-time jobs.
Since the first Tuesday of January is a holiday (New Year’s Day), they agreed to have the January Board meeting on Jan. 9, again at 6:30 p.m., at City Hall.
The Board went into executive session to discuss negotiations with a business prospect and possible employee matters. After they returned into open session, they had no discussion nor took any action on those closed session discussions.