Development district meeting Thursday

First budget, plan of action, officers on Thursday agenda

Directors for the recently formed Municipal Development District will meet for the first time at 5:30 p.m. Thursday to begin a fresh strategy to try and entice more businesses to the Rockdale area.

The board will elect officers and consider naming City Manager Kelvin Knauf as manager for the MDD, and the city secretary as assistant secretary for the MDD.

The board will also consider proposed by-laws and a code of ethics for directors, officers and any potential future employees.

MDD board members w ill also consider a proposed budget, which remains a big question mark since sales tax rebates can only be estimated now. Since tax money is involved, a public hearing will precede the board acting on any budget.

Lastly, MDD directors will discuss its plan for the future.

In May voters narrowly approved formation of the district, which includes annexed city property, plus one mile beyond city limits (extra territorial jurisdiction). A half-cent sales tax generated in that area, which includes Walmart Supercenter, should bring upwards of $200,000 per year to use for development pursuits.

The MDD should begin to see rebates from the sales tax from the state later this year.

Members of the current Rockdale Development Board will serve in an advisory capacity, if needed, for the MDD board. Rockdale Development Board helped steer formation of the MDD, plus a liquor-by-the-drink voter referendum in 2008. RDB also had a large market study done and assisted with several infrastructure projects to help new businesses get located.

"I hope this board runs independently. The town is heavy on infrastructure needs right now, but it wouldn't take many of them to eat up a large portion of the MDD budget," said Ken Cooke, current chair of the Rockdale Development Board.

"Promotion, marketing and networking, we believe, are the main things this town needs to concentrate on. RDB never had the resources to get any traction in these areas.

"Still, it's exciting to have new people and energy on the MDD board. Having this sales tax to work with will be far better than the situation we have had," Cooke said.

MDD BOARD MEMBERS • Mark Jackson • Jim Scott • Mitul Patel • Bobby Pelzel • Non-voting: Kelvin Knauf and two council members yet to be named.

Public hearings on city budget, tax rate begin

Rockdale City Council set public hearings for its fiscal 2009-10 proposed budget for 5:30 p.m. Wednesday and again on Wednesday, Aug. 26.

The public hearing will also focus on its ad valorem tax rate of 66 cents per $100 valuation, up three cents from last year's rate of 63 cents.

Only act ion item on Wednesday's agenda is p otent ia l pu rcha se of equipment from the sale of 2009 tax notes.

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