|BEDC Director Jason Hilts|
In 2002 Brownsville decided to split the 4A funds into a 4A and 4B, with a 4B entity getting 1/4 cent from each taxable dollar for "quality of life" projects. Since that time the Brownsville Community Improvement Corporation declares $10,300,000 spent on such projects.
Vetting and recommending projects for the GBIC is its symbiotic sister board, the Brownsville Economic Development Corporation. The GBIC actually holds its meetings in the BEDC Board Room and BEDC Director Jason Hilts is the most vocal, active participant in those meetings.
One of the original, stated purposes of diverting tax dollars into separate funds was so that economic development and quality of life projects would not be "politicized" by being under the exclusive control of elected officials who might be tempted to disperse patronage in the form of 4a and 4b projects.
|Commissioner Debbie Portillo|
|Commissioner Cesar de Leon|
Although having a majority of the GBIC board coming from the City Commission is a bad precedent, the function should actually improve. The board has been miserably gutless, simply rubber stamping ill-advised projects submitted by the BEDC, such as Titan Tire, the $454,592,08 for the Greater Brownsville Infrastructure & Development Plan, along with the $180,000 to Jacobs Engineering for its implementation, etc., with mealy-mouthed huckster, Jason Hilts, easily manipulating the awards. My hope is that De Leon, Tetreau and Portillo will more carefully scrutinize projects presented for their approval.