Part 1 Interview
Helotes News: How long have you been a resident of Helotes?
Matthew McCrossen: I moved to Helotes in September 2017.
Helotes News: What do you enjoy about Helotes?
Matthew McCrossen: I personally enjoy the variety of restaurants and stores that are a few minutes away from my house. My kids and I enjoy the central location to various parks and lakes we like to visit. We absolutely enjoy the various City-hosted events like movie nights and the Christmas parade where I was judge in 2019, as well as our iconic Cornyval.
Helotes News: What frustrates you about Helotes?
Matthew McCrossen: As a citizen, very little frustrates me. As a former board president of a HOA who dealt with the city, we had a good working relationship. As former director of the board of the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC), my frustrations are born from the micromanagement of the current mayor over city staff. My frustrations are compounded by the silence and apathy the pre-November 2020 election councilmembers had for the loan and grant programs coming out of the HEDC.
Here is an example: The mayor and council can have an item such as the splash pad for around $300,000 placed on the HEDC agenda that is available to board members usually seven days prior to the meeting. The mayor can show up to the meeting and in one night secure the majority of board members’ votes to give the city money from the HEDC budget for the splash pad. I was the only board member who voted against allocating HEDC funds to the city for this project.
Along comes 2020 and I won’t get into very sad details of last year’s HEDC push to establish a loan and grant program for small businesses because, it would turn out to be a book. I’ve wrote about it in my personal blog and published on Helotes News. All the emails are available to the public via Public Information Act (PIA) requests.
I will leave the reader with this; in one night the mayor secured nearly $500,000 from the HEDC for a splash pad and sidewalk. The sidewalk was another item on the HEDC agenda the same night as the splash pad. It took months since I emailed the HEDC’s only employee on March 19th, 2020 at 8:50PM CST, for the HEDC to be allowed to offer loans to our small businesses for a total of $300,000 allocated towards loans. Months after that to convert them to grants. Frustrating, is a very nice way of conveying my feelings on the matter.
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Part 2 Interview
Helotes News: How would you collaborate with the Helotes Economic Development Corporation (HEDC) to foster managed commercial growth in Helotes?
Matt McCrossen: I plan to attend or view the HEDC meeting recordings to ensure I have first-hand knowledge of what is being discussed and voted on by the directors of the board. I will routinely engage with HEDC staff as I did for the two years I served on the HEDC. I intend to be fully informed well before any item requiring city council approval is brought before me from the HEDC.
Helotes News: In terms of oversight, how involved do you plan to be with the activities and action items brought before you on Council from the HEDC, Planning and Zoning, Board of Adjustments?
Matt McCrossen: I plan to be very involved with any item brought before me on council where my vote or staff guidance is required. In terms of oversight specifically, one of the first items I will fight for are bylaws changes to the HEDC where each councilperson is responsible for solicitation, vetting and nomination of an appointee respective of the councilmember’s place. E.g. If I am elected to Place 3, I will be responsible for ensuring the HEDC has an appointee for Place 3 on the HEDC. The same process would apply to all other boards and commissions. In the case of the HEDC where there are Places 6 and 7, one place could be a Mayoral nominee and HEDC nominations committee nominee, or any combination thereof. The point is to re-distribute the nominations process to ensure the Mayor’s Office is not sole source of nominations.
For the full interview click here…