Economic Development initiative is overwhelmingly approved

Rubén Cantú-Rodríguez/Conexión Del Río

DEL RIO – Del Rio voters chose economic development and they chose overwhelmingly, as the May 7, 2016 election results were posted, out of 1,573 votes cast, 69.9 percent (1,095) were in favor of the economic development funding initiative, while only 30.1 percent (478) were against the measure.

Along with the economic development initiative, three Del Rio City Council seats were up for election. In the At-Large, Place A race, Diana Bejarano Salgado defeated David Scarbo by a total of 848 votes for Salgado vs. 738 for Scarbo. While both of Rowland Garza – At-Large, Place B, and Liz Elizalde – District 3, ran unopposed.

The economic development initiative approved will allow for the adoption of a sales tax in Del Rio, for the promotion and development of new and expanded business enterprises. The approved tax rate is one-eighth of one percent and an additional sales and use tax to the rate of three-eighths of one percent, to be used to reduce property tax rate.

City of Del Rio Economic Development Director, Oriana Fernandez, said this will benefit local consumers through the creation of a new Economic Development Corporation, which will allow the city to fund recruiting efforts and increase the city’s tax base.

“The City is now in the process of drafting a certificate of formation that will go before Council for official approval. This is required per Ch. 504 of the Local Government Code. Once this happens, the certificate of formation must be filed in triplicate with the Secretary of State’s Office pursuant to Section 501.057 of the Act. Upon the issuance of the certificate of incorporation, the corporate existence begins”, Fernandez said.

The Secretary of State’s Office, she added, has previously stated that this process can take anywhere between 3-4 months. 

“Local consumers in the City of Del Rio will hopefully benefit from the formation of an EDC (Economic Development Corporation) because this eventual corporation will now have the funds to recruit and incentivize businesses. When businesses come in, the City’s tax base grows. According to the Perryman Group, for every $1 invested from an EDC, $10.84 are reinvested. So, as you can see, the benefits are endless in more ways than one,” Fernandez explained.

Furthermore, she pointed out, the top priorities of the city to be addressed through this tax will be defined by a board of directors, which will be chosen at a later date.

“But, essentially, growing the economy by providing good-waged jobs and recruiting people and businesses into the city to help spurn an upwards growth in the economy should be the top priorities,” she explained. 

Economic Development’s annual funding based in last year’s tax collection is estimated by the City’s finance department between $450-500K per annum. 

“Of course as the city’s tax base grows, this number will begin to multiply as well,” Fernandez said.