$100,000 set aside for HB 2556 legislation remains untouched

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    To view the website and Facebook profile page Sizemore Media helped create throughout the legislative process, visit:

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The $100,000 allocated to the Victoria Economic Development Corp. during University of Houston-Victoria legislation remains untouched.

"Not one dime has been spent," Dennis Patillo, the development corporation's vice-chairman said Tuesday. "The VEDC has not received it because the VEDC did not request it."

Patillo spoke at the economic organization's Victoria Partnership meeting, updating attendees on UHV's possible switchover to the Texas A&M University system and the unused funds.

The Victoria Sales Tax Development board and Victoria City Council agreed in February to increase the Victoria Economic Development Corp.'s office budget by $100,000. That money was set aside to woo legislators and educate the public about the potential changeover but proved unnecessary, said Dale Fowler, president of the economic development corporation.

Sizemore Media did receive money from a private fund as part of the initiative, Patillo said.

That money, a "pretty small amount," went to develop a website and Facebook page geared toward the switchover, Fowler said. It was not necessary for the development corporation to dip into the allocation funds to pay for it.

Fowler declined comment regarding the amount Sizemore Media received.

Shannon Teicher, a Dallas attorney who works with the Freedom of Information Foundation of Texas, said that because the money came from private funds, the economic development group most likely does not have a legal responsibility to release that information.

Though never used, that $100,000 was still important because it provided leverage throughout the process, Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong said. It caught the attention of key players and showed that the move was something Victoria took seriously.

"It was a necessary element in the equation to get everything to come together," Armstrong said.

As for what happens next with the $100,000, Fowler said no one is 100 percent sure.

The development corporation can either release the allocation or hold on to it for a while in case it would become necessary, he said, explaining the organization will call a meeting to decide. Whatever funding would remain would be returned.

Though untouched, the money is still doing its part, Armstrong added.

"It's still in the bank, in the city's general fund, drawing interest," he said.