BEDC looks toward election Chairman says group will continue work

BROWNSVILLE — Brownsville Economic Development Council’s Chairman Steve Muschenheim said the BEDC will continue its efforts to bring jobs to the city despite soon losing funding from the Greater Brownsville Incentives Corporation.

In a letter to the editor to The Brownsville Herald sent by Muschenheim, he said BEDC was founded in the early 1990s with the goal to attract new jobs to the region by soliciting companies to work in the area.

In a recent GBIC board meeting, the board members decided to terminate its three-year contract with BEDC. The contract will end Sept. 30.

BEDC was funded through tax revenue collected by GBIC.

“They didn’t terminate BEDC, they just let the contract expire for funding,” Muschenheim said.

In Muschenheim’s letter, he also said the BEDC board is currently having an election to solicit board members as well as preparing a new budget and new bylaws and mission statement.

“Before we got funding from GBIC, we were in business through our membership,” Muschenheim said. “We started about 30 years ago, before GBIC, and we depended on contributions and member donations.”

Muschenheim said the election for board members will close Wednesday.

People who have served as BEDC chairs include Irv Downing, Jim Tipton, Greg McCumber, Mark Johnson and Keith Uhles.

Regarding what companies the BEDC has brought to help Brownsville economically, Muschenheim said they have brought companies such as SATA USA, SpaceX, CK Technologies, and MVP Plastics Sa., LLC.

“We’ve probably have about 700 jobs that we brought to Brownsville,” the chairman said.

Also regarding transparency issues, Muschenheim said they have been reporting to the city commission every month about what they were doing and what projects they had lined up.

“We also showed the budget that showed the Colombian office. I think we were pretty transparent,” he said.

Muschenheim said the office in Colombia started when Jason Hilts was chair and the purpose was to promote Colombian companies coming to Brownsville. He said the office in Colombia shut down about two years ago.

“We’re doing an election, we’re redoing our bylaws, redoing our mission statement and continuing to make economic development work,” Muschenheim said.