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BEDC Board studying FY 2018/19 budget

By Terry Hagerty – Contributing writer/photographer

BEDC Assistant Director Angela Ryan briefed the Board of Directors on the most recent draft of the proposed Fiscal Year 2018/19 budget during their regular meeting on Monday, July 16. The budget is expected to be approved by the Board at its August 20 regular meeting in order to be adopted as part of the City of Bastrop’s budget in September.BEDC Asst. Director Angela Ryan

Budget Revenues Detailed – Sales tax revenues are the largest revenue stream for the BEDC, with $2,445,220 projected for FY 2018/19. Real Estate proceeds are projected for $100,000; interest income projected for $53,000; and cell tower lease agreement for $13,800.

Finance Director Tracy WaldronBudget Expenses Detailed – Infrastructure projects will take the biggest bite out of projected FY 2018/19 budget expenses, at $1,976,018, although City of Bastrop Finance Director commented there are still some final adjustments that need to be made to this section. (See below for project details).

In another budget category, Projects/Programs/Grants are budgeted for $715,545. (The 380 Agreements Reimbursements – projected at $385,000 – is the largest component of this budget category.) Administration is budgeted for $370,298, which accounts for salaries, social security, retirement and group insurance. Operations (office lease, equipment, supplies, utilities, Industrial Park maintenance/repairs, and ‘dues, subscriptions, publications’, which include software and memberships in professional organizations) are budgeted at $208,548. Marketing and Advertising is budgeted for $132,750. Professional Services (audit, legal, engineering, and contractual services) are budgeted for $166,500. City Services (project grants, Main Street Program support, City administrative services for the BEDC) are budgeted for $142,100.

Board members discuss the 2018/2019 budget.

Multiple Infrastructure Projects Detailed – Infrastructure projects within the Annual Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2018/19 are also detailed. The Downtown Trail Expansion project will create a 1.8-mile loop from downtown to Hwy. 71 and back, increasing the connectivity for recreational possibilities. It will also establish an existing trail that TxDOT will tie into when they build frontage roads across the Colorado River. A significant portion of the project will be funded through grants provided by Keep Bastrop County Beautiful and CAMPO. Regarding technology and infrastructure in the Business & Industrial Park, the BEDC has budgeted $1.6 million from cash reserves to complete a second entrance/exit for the park. This will create 10.5 acres of additional shovel-ready property. New and expanded business enterprise will flow from an infrastructure project involving the extension of Agnes Street. The $1.2 million project will extend Agnes Street from Home Depot Way at FM 304 east, by approximately a half-mile. The project will support the development of the Seton Neighborhood Hospital and additional retail developments.

Cell Tower Lease Considered – In other matters, the BEDC Board took no action regarding a lease agreement with American Tower Corporation. The corporation leases land from the BEDC on which their cell phone tower is located. ATC requested to either extend their current lease another 30 years, or to obtain a permanent easement with the BEDC for a lump-sum payment of $50,000.

Board Chair Chavez

Executive Session – Five items were listed for discussion/possible action in executive session, four of which involved consultation with the BEDC’s attorney, the fifth item being an update on the search for a new Executive Director. On that subject, Chavez said there was an abundant pool of candidates that had applied and the search committee “feels confident that we can field an Executive Director from that pool.”

Also after executive session, Board member Kathryn Nash made a motion to prepare an amended (contract) agreement with Bastrop’s Lost Pines Art Center to address a default. In other action, Board member Mayor Connie Schroeder made a motion, which passed, to rescind all contracts and offers made to Granite & Stone concerning business dealings in the Industrial Park. Two other agenda items required no action.