by BRAD ROLLINS
City leaders hope a new grant program will encourage Texas State University faculty to buy homes in the city limits instead of surrounding communities.
Tenured and tenure-track professors can apply for a $5,000 forgivable loan from the city upon closing on a single-family residence in San Marcos.
The city council appropriated $50,000 for the program this budget year and, on Tuesday, gave initial approval to a partnership with Texas State to help identify eligible faculty. With only enough funding for 10 professors, the program is essentially a pilot that could be expanded later, said City Manager Rick Menchaca.
“It is pretty obvious that we have alot of leakage when it comes to professors living in the city of San Marcos and we want to stop that leakage and help bring these leaders into our community,” said Amy Madison, the economic development director.
The project is an initiative of Mayor Susan Narvaiz who is also advocating for a similar program for police officers. She said, “We want these public servants to live in our community. If this can make the difference, we want to try it.”
With incomes in the neighborhood of three times the city average, having more professors owning homes in San Marcos will help keep more university salary dollars in the community, stimulate higher-end residential development and increase property tax revenue, officials said. In addition, more professors living in town will help improve the city’s demographics that employers consider when locating companies.
In 2006, the median salary of a full professor at Texas State was $76,956 and the median salary of an associate professor was $59,545, according to statistics kept by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.