Brownwood voters will be asked to approve changing the Brownwood Economic Development Corp. to an organization known as a Municipal Development District (MDD), which would expand the projects on which the organization can spend sales tax revenue.
The conversion requires voter approval, and Brownwood City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to call a May 7 special election. If voters approve the measure, it will simultaneously terminate the BEDC and create the MDD.
Under its current status as a Type A corporation, the BEDC is limited to spending money on manufacturing and industrial development. An MDD can spend money on retail and community development, and in other categories including land, buildings, facilities and improvements related to professional and amateur sports, athletic, tourist, convention, public park, affordable housing and water supply projects. It can also spend money on a civic center hotel, City Attorney Pat Chesser told council members earlier.
“This is not a new tax,” Mayor Stephen Haynes said. “There is no additional revenue that will be created. It will be the exact same amount and the same tax that has been collected since we went to a 4A-type entity in the early 1990s. This will simply be a different governing board with different options as to what we can spend the money on.”
City Manager Emily Crawford told council members she and BEDC Executive Director Guy Andrews have spoken with plant managers at Superior, Kohler and 3M, and the managers support conversion.
“We wanted to make sure that they understood that this would not be watering down or removing any of the industrial applications of the economic development from the City of Brownwood,” Crawford said. “They did understand that, and they also felt strongly that the additional opportunities that would be provided to us through the MDD would benefit them as major employers, through the recruitment of new employees, through providing additional amenities for their employees and their families. They felt that was very important to them as major industry and employers, that the city continue to grow in many diverse areas.”
Andrews has presented the proposed conversion of the BEDC from its current status as a 4A corporation to either a 4B corporation or an MDD. A Type B corporation can spend money on more projects than a 4A, and an MDD — which Chesser described as a “Super 4B” — can spend money on the same projects as a 4A and 4B, as well as on a civic center hotel.