By BILL PETERSON
Editor at Large
BUDA – The Buda Economic Development Corporation (EDC) seated two new members and settled a one-year contract extension with Executive Director Warren Ketteman Tuesday night.
Ketteman said he and the EDC settled on a contract without performance criteria that the board hoped to attach to the deal. However, Ketteman added, the EDC is likely to work out the performance criteria within a couple months and review his performance, and the corporation’s, on that basis in about six months.
“It’s difficult to quantify,” Ketteman said about performance criteria, “but they’re working on it and I think they should have something fairly soon.”
The contract calls for Ketteman to receive no improvement in his compensation. His package totals more than $100,000 per year, everything included.
The two new members are William McAnelly and Laurie Cromwell, who were appointed last week to two-year terms by the Buda City Council. They replace Abigail Klamert and Linda Costley.
As Buda has struggled economically this year, Ketteman has received criticism for the city’s lack of activity relative to its close neighbors. The opening of Southpark Meadows at Interstate-35 and Slaughter Lane just five miles north of town has combined with big retail plans in Kyle just south to put Buda in something of a pincer.
“When you’re in the public, that’s part of it,” Ketteman said of the criticisms. “If you like what you do, you do it knowing that the things you do will be scrutinized.”
Between Kyle and Austin, only about five miles of IH-35 frontage runs through Buda, and much of that frontage isn’t within the city limits.
Many Southpark Meadows businesses are members of the Buda Area Chamber of Commerce (BACC) – “The chamber likes to call it ‘North Buda,'” – Ketteman said. Ketteman added that it made sense for the coming Seton Hospital to locate at the intersection of IH-35 and Kyle Parkway, which is right at the midpoint between Ben White Blvd. in Austin and Centerpoint Drive in San Marcos.
Meanwhile, Buda faces other challenges. Among them, Ketteman said, is a lack of “shovel-ready” sites that are big enough for large business location and are already hooked up for utilities.
“If a big company came along, we would have to scramble,” Ketteman said.
Ketteman said he enjoys working and living in Buda and looks forward to taking on the city’s economic development challenges for another year. He added that it might not be a bad idea for the city to take a look at its comprehensive plan, passed in 2002, and celebrate Buda’s progress relative to that plan in the last six years.
“Right now would be a good time to do that,” Ketteman said. “The economy is dragging, sales taxes are down and taxes are going up. We should look at the things that we have done that are on that comprehensive plan and recognize our progress.”