Sullivan City to vote on development district plan

SULLIVAN CITY — Residents will decide in May whether to move forward with the city’s plans to dissolve the Economic Development Corporation and form a Municipal Development District in its stead.

The council approved the election, scheduled for May 4, during a city council meeting Tuesday that would also decide whether to shift the half-cent sales tax from the EDC toward the MDD.

City consultant Ramon Segovia, who oversaw a similar shift in Palmview when he was the city manager there, said the change would allow funds to be more streamlined.

“The last couple of years, the EDC for the city of Sullivan has been kind of stagnant, they haven’t really had a lot of activity,” Segovia said, explaining that the EDC revenue comes into the general fund and is not allocated to a specific thing.

“With the MDD, my experience is when that fund is set up and the money comes into that fund, it can only be used for certain expenses,” he said. “It makes it a little bit more flexible for that board to determine ‘Ok, this is our budget for the year, this is what we plan to do, these are the projects we plan to undertake’ and move forward from there.”

City Commissioner Sylvia Castillo said she hoped the MDD would help improve existing businesses in order to attract others to open up within the city.

“I want the city to grow and basically the way you grow is — if you make your city more beautiful, more people will be attracted to the city,” Castillo said. “The way I see it is that we’re able to help some of the businesses here to upscale their business a little bit more.”

Segovia said an MDD also allows for spending on projects that don’t necessarily fall under economic development such as lighting for main thoroughfares, parks and restrooms.

“I think it’s going to be a good thing for the city,” he said, “I think that it opens up an opportunity for them to recruit more economic development which is ultimately the goal for the city as a whole.”