Bryan Business Council Could Get New Members, Mission

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In March, four of the seven members of the Bryan Business Council stepped down. Soon, those seats may be filled.

Of more significance may be a change in direction for the BBC. In executive session Tuesday, the city council will discuss whether to tweak the mission of the council.

The signs of development in Bryan are all too evident. Now, the stalled Bryan Business Council could soon be heading back to work with a new mission: stop owning some property, and keep pitching Bryan.

City Manager David Watkins believes the city council should change the BBC's direction. Currently, they own some property with revenue coming in as a result, and even make economic development deals. The change, if the council so chooses, would transfer those assets to the city, with the council and staff responsible for the decisions.

"I think it takes a step out of the process," Watkins said. "It ends up being a city council-mayor decision anyway. Let's just have it go through them."

One of those staff members is Dennis Goehring, who recently was brought on to the city staff instead of answering to the BBC directly.

Part of the reason for the four business council member departures, he says, was disagreements with the emphasis on landing the A&M Health Science Center in Bryan. With only three members remaining, no quorum can be achieved to hold BBC meetings.

"My goodness, this is the biggest thing that happened for Bryan and our community," Goehring said of the Health Science Center. "I'm talking about the community as a whole."

However, Goehring says the focus has never been and should never be on one part of town, and that anyone wanting to serve on the BBC should have that vision.

"I think we need to go east and west and north," Goehring said. "It's the sum of the aggregate in terms of economic development. You just can't pick one side of town and say, 'that's what we're going to do.'"

Also on the agenda for Tuesday's city council meeting is the first reading of an ordinance that would bring the senior citizen tax freeze a step closer to a public vote, possibly in November. Approvals of a first and second reading are needed.

A mayor pro tem could also be named. The matter will be discussed by the council. Currently, Ben Hardeman is serving as the interim mayor pro tem.