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Foundation’s funding will still continue
Mar 30, 2013 | 1181 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
REFUGIO – In a split vote, the Refugio City Council opted to continue funding for the Refugio County Community Development Foundation on Tuesday, March 26.

Councilman Joey Heard had the item put on the agenda because he said he had heard the mayor say the funding should no longer be given.

Mayor Rey Jaso said he did say that and that he would stand by his word.

“We need to be fair. They are hanging on by a thread. We already committed the money in the first place,” Heard said.

The council voted to fund the Foundation to the tune of $200,000 over two years.

The council voted in August to bestow one lump sum of $100,000 from sales tax money. The second $100,000 would be given this August.

With its first director quitting after five months, some doubt whether the Foundation would be successful was voiced by Councilman Dale Skrobarcek.

“Don’t think y’all have proven yourself,” Skrobarcek said.

But Foundation President Ann Fierova said five months (the time the director was in the position) isn’t enough time to judge.

She said the new Family Dollar, Wine Fest, Country Opry and County Fair were growth factors that can be attributed to the Foundation.

“The county is poised for tremendous growth,” she said.

And she said a housing project is about sealed for Refugio, noting that housing was one of the Foundation’s top priorities.

Also, she noted that the Foundation received 20 applications to fill the directorship vacated by former director Joe Arredondo, who was present at the meeting.

“I think that gentleman back there (pointing to Arredondo) was a good selection,” said Councilman Lenny Anzaldua.

Councilwoman Karen Watts asked Arredondo why he left the position.

“I didn’t have enough money. I couldn’t travel,” he said.

He said he couldn’t travel for certification, adding that after paying salaries, the light bills and office expenses, there wasn’t enough.

Watts asked how much Arredondo would have needed. He replied between $250,000 to $300,000.

“I have to be traveling,” he said. “I can’t stay here and sell widgets.”

Bayside Mayor Ken Dahl, a member of the Foundation board, disagreed with Arredondo, saying people work with what they have.

“We have a vision. We have a good model. Give us time,” Dahl said.

He added that the Foundation is committed and that four or five of the candidates to replace Arredondo “are looking good.”

But Skrobarek said the remaining $100,000 should go to develop things for the residents of Refugio.

Commissioner Ann Lopez, another member of the Foundation, said the intent of the Foundation was to apply for grants.

She said the county judge encouraged the Foundation to come up with a master plan, thereby finding other ways to fund the Foundation.

“I would like to see it extended another two years. That’s my thought,” Watts said.

Ann Lopez said Caterpillar is looking outside of Victoria currently, and that is a possibility.

Lopez also said she could not praise the city council enough for believing in the Foundation.

Heard said he never asked for any receipts for what the Foundation does. He added that he didn’t ask to be updated, as well.

Fierova said the Foundation has a financial report generated every month that could be provided to the council.

Also suggested was to recruit one of the city councilmen to the Foundation board.

Watts suggested a workshop in August to determine what would be planned after that last $100,000 was awarded to the Foundation.

She said a budget and guidelines would help the matter.

“To me, I am seeing results,” she said.

Skrobarcek voted against continuing the commitment to fund the Foundation, while Heard, Frank Hosey and Watts voted to continue the commitment. Anzaldua abstained from voting. The funding passed.

The council also increased the permit fee for game rooms/amusement businesses in the city limits from $350 to $500 an eight-liner machine.

The council also voted to give the Refugio County Chamber of Commerce its request for $8,572 in motel tax money.

And the council also voted to implement a school resource officer position. A police officer would be reassigned until the new fiscal year when the a new position could be budgeted.

The school district has agreed to pay the officer’s base salary of $39,688, according to Police Chief Andy Lopez Jr.

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