San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

August 21st, 2009
Council looks at sources for outlet mall funding

By ED MIHALKANIN
News Reporter

The San Marcos City Council inched closer to working out a Fiscal Year 2010 budget this week, settling for good on matching last year’s funding levels for outlet mall advertising support after the most extended discussion of Tuesday night’s session.

The council will fund Prime Outlets in the amount of $307,000 and Tanger Outlets for $250,000, thus matching last year’s total of $557,000. Councilmember John Thomaides objected to repeating the expenditure, but on one else on the council supported him. Meanwhile, Councilmember Pam Couch said the council should “bump up ad dollars to Prime by $100,000.” Only Councilmember Chris Jones supported her.

The council appears to be leaning towards using funds from reserves that can be used to pay down the city’s debt for the City of San Marcos Conference Center, because the conference center agreement prohibits the city from making early payments for ten years. As that discussion wound down, Councilmembers Gaylord Bose, Kim Porterfield, Thomaides and Jones expressed support for using that fund.

It had been proposed that the Prime ad program be funded from the Hotel Occupancy Tax (HOT) for $92,000 and a Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) interest account for $215,000, with the Tanger Marketing program be funded from the HOT fund for $75,000 and the CIP account for $175,000.

In other developments, the council gave direction to city staff to add $86,000 for potential compensation increases for police and fire department personnel, $9,300 to cover the park and recreation department’s increased expenses from the Easter Seals contract, $50,000 for Veramendi Plaza sidewalks, $50,000 for a downtown marketing co-op pilot program and $18,000 to PALS animal shelter and neutering facility.

The police and fire department increases, the Easter Seals contract increases and the PALS funding will be paid from a special projects fund. The Veramendi sidewalks and the downtown marketing program will be paid from a CIP interest fund.

The council gave the go ahead to city staff to fund the engineering studies for the river bank program and gave a tentative yes to the whole $1.8 million program. The council asked staff to present funding options for the whole program. Possible funding sources include a loan from the general fund, certificates of obligation (CO), the CIP interest fund and the sale of city land.

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