ITALY – The Italy Economic Development Corporation voted to enter into negotiations for real property at a called meeting Monday evening.

Mark Stiles, president, made the motion to into this agreement following an executive session. He said they would present an updated resolution at the next IEDC meeting following successful negotiations.

Prior to the executive session, John Droll questioned who would pay for operating expenses for a community

center and asked if they would reimburse the school and city for lost property taxes if the IEDC purchased property for a community center.

Stiles said the IEDC would pay for operating expenses. He said they would not reimburse the school and city if the IEDC purchases a downtown building to serve as a community center.

Droll continued that purchasing a piece of property would compound the school tax problem if the property is taken off of the tax rolls.

Stiles said the people have spoken and they want a community center. He said they could use this facility for weddings, senior citizen events, musical events, family gatherings and later as offices for IEDC and perhaps a chamber of commerce. He said Italy needs a community center to help grow the community.

Droll again expressed his discontent stating Stiles had not answered his questions.

Stiles asked Droll where he was six months ago when discussion began on a community center. He said Droll is always against things and is never positive.

In other business, the IEDC approved a budget for the upcoming year. Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said the budget is, basically, the same as last year.

She projects $70,000 in sales tax this year and said they will come close to that total before the budget year ends in September.

The city council must approve the budget at its next meeting.

The current financial balance for all IEDC accounts is just over $74,000.

Darryl Ratcliff, grant writer, addressed the group about two possible grants from Oncor.

He said Oncor has up to $50,000 that would help replace city water pumps or any type of project that upgrades energy efficiency.

A second $50,000 grant is also available to upgrade electrical facilities in any city-owned building.

Ratcliff said there is a three-week turnaround time for a decision from Oncor once the grant application is completed. He said Oncor likes the upgrades completed within a year.

The IEDC also discussed the possibility of helping tie the local water supply into the Couth Ellis County Water District lines for use in emergencies.

This item was discussed at a previous meeting but members were uncertain if the IEDC could legally undertake this project. Ed Voss, city attorney, said the board could legally pay for water facilities.

Dean Carrell, water superintendent, said two connections would be required to tie the two lines together and projected a cost of about $5,500-$6,000.

The board decided to go forward with the project following negotiations with South Ellis County Water.

The board also extended Ratcliff’s contract for a month as Elmerine Bell and Randy Boyd negotiate a new contract with the grant writer.

The board will meet again on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m.