City Councilman Offers Clarification
My name is Jerry Russe and I’m on Bandera City Council. I’d like to clarify some things that have happened recently.
At the April 16, 2020, City Council meeting, Economic Development Corp (EDC) President Toni Kunz presented a program without all the information council needed. She gave no information on what accounts the $100,000 would be coming from and she provided no list of businesses who would be receiving funds. I made a motion to postpone the decision on this program until the next council meeting. That motion was approved by majority of the council, with Glenn Clark the only vote against. On another note, Glenn Clark walked out of a council meeting in March. His actions were very disrespectful and cost the taxpayers money because we were paying the city attorney to be present to answer questions about EDC bylaws, policies and procedures. That meeting ended because we did not have a quorum.
The EDC Board requested that we approve a change in EDC’s Bylaws and Code of Ethics that prohibits EDC board members (and city council) from receiving funds for their personal businesses. I’ve been a business owner in Bandera for over 17 years. I voted against this change and will always uphold the City of Bandera Code of Ethics.
Former EDC and city council member Tom McEachin wrote a letter to the editor in this paper last week and stated the following:
EDC “re-assessed projected revenue for the current fiscal year given that sales tax revenue will drop considerably.” How could EDC possibly assess any projected revenue? We will not know until June how much revenue the city has lost in March and April.
“By pulling every unallocated dollar from the budget, the EDC was able to identify $100,000 that could provide immediate relief.” That is not correct. That money has been budgeted for various projects such as maintenance, city parks, advertising, master plan, and other line items. It would have been an irresponsible use of taxpayers’ money to not know where in the budget the funds were coming from and what projects would be sacrificed.
“Hoped the council would approve the program, and details could be finalized later in the day at a special EDC meeting.” This would have required the council to vote on a program without knowing what we were approving.
“Council wanted to know in more detail exactly where the $100,000 was coming from, which was reasonable. The additional information they sought could have been provided in a day or two, but they tabled the entire process for three weeks.” Not true. Council made it clear in the meeting, when we postponed the vote that we could schedule another special meeting at any time once they had the required information.
McEachin states, “the result is a needless delay”. The delay was caused only by EDC’s unprepared recommendation and inability to answer questions the city council needed to make a responsible decision, not any act of council.
Toni Kunz supplied applications and encouraged businesses to apply before anything was approved by council. Some council members have received personal attacks and threats because of this. City Council had not even seen the application until their meeting on April 16, let alone approve the program.
City Council has an obligation to taxpayers to utilize their money responsibly. If you have a concern with how I represent you on council or want to discuss a concern, I urge you to email me at JerryBanderaCityCouncil@gmail.com.
Jerry Russ, City Councilman