Let's get this out of the way right now - I am not a native of Robstown. I lived here for about two years a few years back, but that's really as far as it goes.
I have enjoyed the opportunity thus far to watch and report about this small town's growth during my time as a reporter with the Nueces County Record Star, but I don't have a vested interest in what happens here since I am technically a Corpus Christi native. My job is to report and inform the public about what is happening throughout our coverage area, and that's as far as it goes.
That being said, I am finding myself to be extremely intrigued by the opportunity being presented before the Robstown City Council and the citizens they were elected to represent.
Naturally, I am referring to the multi-million dollar project that is now known as The Outlets at Corpus Christi Bay. Sure, the name may not exactly match the location, but it doesn't diminish the impact that it will most certainly have on Robstown's economy, as well as the Northwest Corpus Christi area that is about five minutes away.
The developers, Dolphin Ventures I, LLC based out of San Antonio, have said their project will pump millions of extra sales tax revenue - about $2 million dollars annually - into the city and the Robstown Independent School District each.
The catch? Most big projects like this aren't usually done without some form of tax incentive from the governing municipality. Since Nueces County officials have sold the land to the developer, it is now up to the Robstown City Council to provide a tax incentives package to Dolphin Ventures.
To my knowledge, the current city council does not have much experience in these types of negotiations. A resident once told me that there had been opportunities for other large projects, such as warehouses, with past city councils and each time, mistakes were made that resulted in the city losing big business.
As much as this city council and I don't see eye-to-eye on certain topics, I do believe they are more willing than previous councils to put aside their differences for the benefit of the city's residents. After all, it is the citizens who elect city officials and pay taxes.
But there is also too much at stake here. You're looking at the Robstown Independent School District going from being one of the poorest school districts in the state of Texas to actually not qualifying for certain types of state funding.
Remember when the new Seale Jr. High School was paid for with 75 percent of state funds? That won't be an option if the school district wants any more new schools a few years from now.
The city of Robstown will also see more money that can be used to fix roads, which have long been a headache for visitors and residents alike, and other improvements. It almost seems like this city is on the verge of booming.
So next time you see city council members and they look like they're slouching, keep in mind that they now hold the weight of an entire city's future on their shoulders.
Tim Olmeda is the news editor for the Nueces County Record Star. Readers may contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.