City council to reduce Greater San Marcos Partnership funding

By: 

News Reporter

San Marcos City Council cut funding to the Greater San Marcos Partnership (GSMP) Tuesday with plans to use the remaining money for a city-led economic development team.

Council members voted 4-3 in favor of splitting the funding from $360,000 to $120,000 and using the rest to put together a staff to focus on city development. Five citizens spoke in favor of continued funding at the current rate at Tuesday’s city council meeting. Citizens asked the council members to consider how much work GSMP has done for the city.

The city’s economic development sub-committee reviewed the funding of GSMP and presented its findings. Councilwoman Lisa Prewitt, Place 1, recommended the split of funds because although the GSMP is good for regional business, she would rather see a city employee handle city business.

“Having the partnership is a great regional asset,” Prewitt said. “A city-led team would benefit both the partnership with the relationship they will have as well as they city.”

Prewitt was concerned with the level of control the city has with a public-private company with its own agenda.

“I want to be able to go to city staff and get all the information I need,” Prewitt said.

Councilman John Thomaides, Place 3, spoke in favor of a split due to the level of funding provided by the city compared to other organizations is much greater, but the services received by GSMP is the same.

“At $30,000 per month (San Marcos has) been the single largest investor,” Thomaides said. “We more than double the investment of the second largest investor which is Hays County at $12,000.”

Not everyone was on board with the split. Councilman Jude Prather, Place 2, took a strong stand against taking away resources from GSMP stating a simple idiom.

“I think we are going to shoot ourselves in the foot if we take money away from the partnership after all the progress we have made,” Prather said.

With clear direction to the city staff from the board members, the new contract will be discussed further in March.