Hutto City Council is considering appointing council members to boards and commissions to improve communication.
Discussion occurred at a special called meeting May 12 after Mayor Mike Snyder brought up the idea to appoint council members to the Economic Development Corporation and made a motion to appoint himself to the board. Serving as the liaison for the EDC, Snyder said during their meetings he often spends 90% of the time in the City Hall lobby because the majority of each meeting is spent in executive session, which is closed to those outside of the board, including Snyder.
Without council members knowing about economic plans before the item is presented, it creates months of back and forth between the council and the EDC board, he said.
Cities such as Round Rock and Pflugerville have had council members serve on their economic development boards. Round Rock Mayor Craig Morgan and Place 5 Council Member Writ Baese serve on the city’s transportation and economic development corporation board. Pflugerville Place 5 Council Member Mike Heath serves on the Pflugerville Community Development Corporation board.
"As our city gets more sophisticated, if we're going compete and everybody wants to do what Pflugerville does or Round Rock does, you have to start, at some point, emulating what successful people do," Snyder said.
When he ran for office, Snyder said he was against having council members on the EDC because he felt the board used to have specific members appointed in order to instantly approve whatever the previous city manager wanted.
Snyder said if he is appointed to the EDC and it does not fix communication between the board and council then the council could try something else in three months.
Council Member Mike Arismendez, who is on the EDC and filling the Place 5 seat, said having a council member on the board would help address City Council concerns earlier in the process, such as zoning questions.
“In order for us to alleviate some of those issues, I think by having a council member on the EDC board would allow that communication to flow even more so,” Arismendez said.
Council Member Robin Sutton said she wanted more time to talk about the motion before making a decision in order to get community feedback.
No action was taken, and the item will be on the May 20 meeting agenda.