La Feria News

City approves grant applications, grants Industrial Development Corporation special authorization for projects

The La Feria city commission held it’s Tuesday, November 22nd meeting via Zoom. Photo: Cayetano Garza Jr. / LFN

By CAYETANO GARZA JR.
LFN

The La Feria city commission held its second regularly scheduled meeting for the month of November last Tuesday, November 24, at 6:30 pm.

In accordance with an order by the office of the Texas governor issued March 16, the commission has been holding its meetings online via Zoom live stream in lue of face-to-face meetings to slow the spread of COVID-19 by maintaining strict social distancing while still allowing the commission to perform the duties and functions of civic government.

After observing the usual protocols of a regular meeting (invocation, pledge, determining quorum present, and call to order), the commission approved minutes for the meeting held October 13, 2020.

Although some community members were in attendance no one had signed up to present public comments so the commission proceeded with the other items on the agenda.

The commission again voted to further extend the local disaster declaration pertaining to the public health emergency presented by the global COVID-19 pandemic. The La Feria city commission will continue to hold it’s meetings online.

The commission considered and approved action on a resolution authorizing a grant application to the Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding program (CESF). The program begun in April of 2020 provides funding to assist eligible states, local units of government, and tribes in preventing, preparing for, and responding to the coronavirus.

Funds awarded under the CESF Program must be utilized to prevent, prepare for, and respond to the coronavirus. Allowable projects and purchases include, but are not limited to, overtime, equipment (including law enforcement and medical personal protective equipment), hiring, supplies (such as gloves, masks, sanitizer), training, travel expenses (particularly related to the distribution of resources to the most impacted areas), and addressing the medical needs of inmates in state, local, and tribal prisons, jails, and detention centers. City manager Jaime Sandoval explained to the commission that the grant would not need to be matched by the city and would provide over $14,000 in funds. The item was approved.

The next agenda item was a resolution authorizing a grant application for the Local Border Security Program. The Homeland Security Grants Division is soliciting grant applications under the Local Border Security Program for projects that support Operation Border Star during state fiscal year 2021.

Operation Border Star centers on the use of intelligence to increase the effectiveness of federal, state, and local law enforcement assets. The purpose of the program is to sustain interagency law enforcement operations and enhance local law enforcement patrols to facilitate directed actions to deter and interdict criminal activity. The grant application for the city of La Feria would be for only around $7,000 to help pay for overtime of local law enforcement and support personnel. This grant also had no match requirements. The commission approved the resolution.

The next item on the agenda was a resolution to appoint a new member of the La Feria Zoning Board of Adjustment. A member recently stepped down and there is a vacancy however the commission voted to table the item for the time being while a suitable candidate to fill the position could be considered and approached to serve.

The next agenda item was the consideration of an ordinance to authorize the La Feria Industrial Development Corporation to undertake projects of a Type B economic development corporation pursuant to section 504.171 of the Texas Local Goverment code.

The Development Corporation Act of 1979 gives cities the ability to finance new and expanded business enterprises in their local communities through economic development corporations (EDCs). Chapters 501, 504 and 505 of the Local Government Code outline the characteristics of Type A and Type B EDCs, authorize cities to adopt a sales tax to fund the corporations and define projects EDCs are allowed to undertake.

Type A EDCs are typically created to fund industrial development projects such as business infrastructure, manufacturing and research and development. Type A EDCs can also fund military base realignment, job training classes and public transportation.

Type B EDCs can fund all projects eligible for Type A, as well as parks, museums, sports facilities and affordable housing. However, Type B EDCs are subject to more administrative restrictions than Type A.

As city attorney Rebecca Hayward pointed out the commission the city would have to authorized the LFIDC, a type A economic development corportion, to be able to pursue any type B projects legally. The commission voted unanimously to pass the ordinance.

Finally, the commission approved the final agenda item to advertise for requests for qualifications regarding the operation, maintenance and management of the city water and wastewater infrastructure facilities. City manager Sandoval pointed out before the vote was taken that approval of the item did not commit the city to anything but rather allowed them to “take it slow and begin the process” of finding out what other opportunities were available to the city for the benefit of the community.

The commission then voted to adjourn, having no other items on the agenda for the evening.

The next meeting of the La Feria city commission is scheduled for December 8, 2020 at 6:30 pm.

To view the meeting via internet live streaming, please visit https://www.cityoflaferia.com/boards-and-commissions/city-commission/agendas-2020/ where you will find the agenda for the next meeting. The pdf for the agenda will include a link, meeting ID and passcode for the Zoom meeting. More information is available by calling 346-248-7799. Members of the public may sign up for public comment on an agenda item or for another item of public concern by submitting an email to amorales@cityoflaferia.com containing the name of the individual wishing to comment; and the item number or subject matter the individual wishes to comment on. Please submit requests for public comment no later than two hours before the meeting. Join the meeting at the time and login listed above and the Mayor will call on you when it is your turn to speak. A recording of the meeting will be made and is available to the public in accordance with the Texas Open Meetings Act.

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