MDD, city pursuing ‘mystery’ business

Negotiation okayed in closed session

In the kind of hush-hush atmosphere generally reserved for high-level corporate boardrooms, the Rockdale City Council Monday okayed pursuing a land purchase to try and attract a business to town.

The name of the business wasn’t revealed and that’s not a surprise. It’s likely no more than a handful of people in Texas even know its identity.

The unanimous decision followed a closed session and represents long-term work by the Rockdale Municipal Development District (MDD), in conjunction with the state of Texas, to attract the business.

Rockdale is believed to be among 15 sites nationwide still in the running, out of hundreds of candidates, to attract the business, according to Gary Griesbach, MDD president.

“ The way these things work is the state will give leads to all Texas communities with economic development organizations, such as municipal development districts,” he said. “It is up to the individual community to pursue it after that until there is only one Texas site left in the running. Then the state will step back in and assist.”

One of the requirements was land. Griesbach said the MDD has been actively searching for a site that fits the requirements of the business.

“ We’re far enough along to bring this to the city council,” Griesbach said. “What they did Monday was authorize the MDD to continue negotiating.”

Griesbach was called in for half the executive session.

The city’s purposely vague official statement, for the record, said only:

“On a motion by council member (Doug) Calame, and a second by council member (Joyce) Dalley, the council voted five for and none opposed to approve purchase of land requested by the Rockdale Municipal Development District in executive session. Motion carried.”

The location of the site was not revealed.

FREEPORT—The council unanimously okayed the freeport exemption, which exempts goods from property taxes that are detained in Texas for 175 days or less.

Ernie Cates, owner of Texas Medical Distributors, told the council that having the exemption— which is already granted by the school district and county— would assist his businesses.

“Almost everything we have comes in from overseas,” he said. Items are repackaged, then shipped all over the nation, he added.

Cates noted his company is in competition with similar businesses nationwide and any boost in the company’s small profit margin would be helpful.

“It’s going to make it a lot easier to sell,” he said.

The motion passed unanimously.

“We want to be business friendly,” Mayor John King said.

SIGN—The council okayed the MDD’s plan to erect a third “Welcome to Rockdale” sign, this one on US 79 West on land owned by Rockdale General Store.

Griesbach said estimated price tag was $19,000. “ This one is going to be more expensive than the other two,” he said. “There were a lot of items donated to those.”

Other “gateway signs” are located near Coffield Regional Airport at the US 77-FM 908 intersection and on US 79, east of the US 77 overpass.

UMPIRES—The city endorsed a recommendation by its Tourism Committee to award $ 4,000 from hotel-motel tax funds to the Rockdale Girls Softball Association.

GSA officials had requested the sum to pay umpires and purchase trophies for the state tourney it hosted at its Bushdale Road facilities earlier in the summer.

In other business, council members:

• Rejected the only bid received for streets projects and decided to contact Milam County for possible assistance.

• Okayed the bid of Taylor Equipment for a new “bat-wing” tractor and mower for the city’s Public Works Department. PWD director Scooter Lindholm said the new equipment would allow “faster, quicker, safer mowing” in the city.

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