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The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

The Student News Site of Texas State University

The University Star

City Council approves grocery store development incentives, hears calls for police accountability in SMPD shooting

Star file photo

At its May 7 meeting, San Marcos City Council approved the Economic Development Incentives resolution for grocery store developments for up to five years.

Christian Smith, economics and business development manager for the city of San Marcos, said the approved resolution will be part of a marketing package offered to grocery store developers.

Smith presented a study on how Kyle and New Braunfels incentivized grocery retailers such as HEB and Sprouts.

Economic Development Staff used the data to estimate a 60% expected return on investment for different development scenarios based on square footage, according to Smith.

Smith said in scenario one, a 20,000-square-foot grocery store would grant the city $279,937 in property and sales tax collection. In scenario two, a 50,000-square-foot grocery store would grant the city $699,842. Scenario three would give the city $1,679,621 for a 120,000-square-foot store.

Staff recommended a 100% property and sales tax abatement for the first year, decreasing yearly until 25% in the fifth year.

According to the Texas Government Comptroller, a tax abatement is “a local agreement between a taxpayer and a local taxing unit that exempts all or part of the increase in the value of a property from taxation for a period not to exceed ten years.”

In the first year of a potential grocery store’s development, the city would not receive any tax money from the development as per the Economic Development Staff’s 100% tax abatement recommendation.

“Staff recommends that stores [be a] minimum of 20,000 [square feet and] the developer would have to break ground while the resolution is active to encourage some sense of urgency,” Smith said.

Mayor Jane Hughson said she supports the resolution because there is a food desert in the northwest side of town but she doesn’t want to give a 100% rebate or refund on property tax for the first year.

“I think food deserts is an inaccurate way to describe what our neighbors are going through,” Councilmember Alyssa Garza said. “My priority is [getting a grocery development on] the east side to bring jobs.”

The council unanimously passed the resolution with a 7-0 vote, initiating an 80% rebate on sales and property taxes. This move aims to attract large-scale developments, focusing on projects with significant square footage.

The resolution will inform potential grocery retailers if they were to build in San Marcos, 80% of the increase in their sales and property tax would be exempt which is an economic incentive for developers to build in San Marcos.

San Marcos City Council also heard comments regarding police accountability from Malachi Wiliams’ family.

Wayne Miller, Malachi Williams’ grandfather, spoke during the public comment period about his attempts to obtain bodycam footage related to his grandson’s death. He mentioned difficulties dealing with the San Marcos Police Department (SMPD), specifically SMPD Chief of Police Stan Standridge.

“When I walked out [of the May 7 council meeting], I saw [Standridge] was looking at me and I asked who he was and he said ‘You didn’t tell the truth’,” Miller said. “[Standridge] will tell you that he has invited my daughter and my children to come and view the body tapes.” 

According to Miller, Tamy Strakos, Standridge’s administrative coordinator, wrote to him on April 29 saying she would send him the answers to his questions regarding the updates on the autopsy, video footage from HEB and officer body cam footage.

However, Miller said he has yet to hear any updates.

“So you tell me, did I lie to you today? Or am I an honest man? You judge that,” Miller said.

The San Marcos City Council meets at 6 p.m. every first and third Tuesday of each month. For more information, visit its website.

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