During a special Mineola City Council meeting, more steps were taken that will aid in new employer moving to this area.
In a special meeting last Tuesday, the council held the first public hearing towards annexing a portion of the property “that has been purchased by Sanderson Farms.”
Mineola City Administrator Mercy Rushing noted that it is just over 72 acres outside the city limits and is part of the 237 acres the company has purchased and which are inside the city. The second public hearing will be on May 22. The property on Loop 564 in the southeastern part of the city is zoned agriculture but will need to be zoned industrial.
In the meeting the council unanimously approved applying for a $750,000 grant to the Texas Department of Agriculture for a Texas Capital Fund Grant that would go towards helping with infrastructure improvements needed for Sanderson Farms. Rushing said that would be sewer, water and natural gas “that we are hoping to run” for the company to do business within the city limits of Mineola. A public hearing was held the past Monday on the grant, but no one attended. The same applied for last Tuesday’s hearing.
Rushing said the city is also working with the North East Texas Regional Mobility Authority for another $500,000 grant. One of the reasons the company chose the property east of Mineola was its proximity to the railroad tracks. Union Pacific representatives who were in Mineola recently said they are familiar with working with Sanderson facilities.
A memo in the council meeting packet states that “the city council will also be committing from the city’s general fund $157,855 which we will try and get from MEDC (Mineola Economic Development Corporation) and other grants to help complete this project for Sanderson Farms Inc. if we are awarded the $750,000 grant.” The handout states that MEDC, the board that governs the proceeds from half cent sales taxes which are for economic development, currently has over $300,000 in fund balance over their budget.
The Mineola council also agreed to enter in a contract with KSA for engineering and architectural services for the infrastructure work to be done if the aforementioned grant is approved. If the grant isn’t received, the work won’t be needed.
In another matter related to groundwork for the future, the council agreed to contract with MHS Planning & Design, LLC, which has done work for the city before, for a site plan, and to help with a community grant application to the Texas Parks & Wildlife Department for the Iron Horse Railroad Heritage Park to be built on Commerce Street.
All members of the council were present for the meeting which was Rodney Watkins’ final complete meeting as mayor.