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City targets $100,000 for unnamed economic development project

Sonny Long

By Sonny Long
Feb. 12, 2011 at 10 p.m.
Updated Feb. 11, 2011 at 8:12 p.m.

The city of Victoria sales tax development corporation board of directors has approved adding $100,000 to the budget of the Victoria Economic Development Corp.

The City Council must approve the addition to the corporation's budget. The item is on Tuesday's council agenda.

During its meeting last week, the sales tax board met in executive session to discuss a business prospect "with which the corporation is conducting economic development negotiations," according to the agenda.

The business was not mentioned by name in open session when the budget amendment was approved, said O.C. Garza, the city's public information officer.

"Like so many economic development projects, any public conversation can hinder or end negotiations," said Dale Fowler, president of the VEDC. "We have chosen to ask that this project remain confidential for the time being. Should discussions continue to go well and the $100,000 is used, there will be opportunity for full public discussion."

Mayor Will Armstrong, who is a member of the sales tax board along with councilmen Tom Halepaska and Joe Truman, said the vote to approve the addition to the corporation's budget was unanimous.

"People need to understand that the confidentiality of negotiations is often at the request of the client, like with Caterpillar," the mayor said. "Not that this special project is another Caterpillar; it's not, but the VEDC needs to have funds on hand. We have no way of knowing how much of it will be spent or what else might develop.

"I don't want to build up people's expectations, but Dale (Fowler) and his team are working all the time with a lot of different clients," said Armstrong.

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