by A.C. Hall
The White Settlement Economic Development Corporation held a budget work session last week where they heard some distressing numbers regarding health insurance. Originally budgeted for a ten percent increase, the increase in insurance was closer to twenty percent. This pushed the budget deficit for EDC to $238,000, slightly higher than it already was. The plan presented was to use existing funds in the EDC fund balance to cover the deficit. The expected fund balance at the end of next year is $1.2 million.
Aside from insurance numbers, the budget was largely unchanged from the last time the EDC saw it. A public hearing was held to let any members of the audience speak about the budget. With none present wishing to do so, the public hearing was closed. A motion was then made to adopt the budget. That motion passed unanimously.
EDC Executive Director Jim Ryan gave his monthly report, informing the EDC that the renovations and updates to the old Sam’s building are mostly complete. The ESC Region 11 is the new tenant there, and Ryan spoke highly of the quality of the work that has been done by them as they renovated the structure.
The arcade building at Hawaiian Falls is nearing completion, with a possible opening date of later this month. Ryan also mentioned the new Dollar General location along White Settlement road, informing EDC that it is now open. He spoke about the ongoing work the city is doing to try to bring a grocery store to White Settlement, but mentioned the job that Dollar General does in this capacity as well.
“The Dollar Store’s a fairly nice grocery store,” Ryan said. “It’s a fair size little grocery store.”
The red iron building behind Wells Fargo was mentioned again, as Ryan stated that the plans for the building have now been approved. He said he expects the completion of the building to happen “real fast” as it is turned into an indoor storage facility.
Hotels were mentioned by Ryan, who said one will be coming in behind Northern Tools near the I-30 access road. The next five hotels that come into town after that one will fall under the deal between the City and Hawaiian Falls, with HF getting to use the hotel tax from those hotels to help pay off the water park. Ryan said that beyond the Northern Tools hotel, there’s a possibility two more hotels could be coming to the city.
Parks and Recreation Director Rich Tharp gave his monthly report. Tharp highlighted several upcoming events. The Punt, Pass, and Play event will be held on August 23 at the Cecil Jenson football field at Central Park. The event is free and starts at 9:00 am.
The cat population in the city was brought up, leading to a discussion on the possibility of spaying and neutering stray cats. “Until we start doing that we’ll be overrun with cats,” Mayor Jerry Burns said.
A low cost rabies vaccination clinic will be held at the Rec Center at City Hall on August 23 from 10:00 am until noon. Rabies shots will be available for five dollars at the clinic.
This years Settler’s Day event was also discussed, with the new location being revealed as Hawaiian Falls. This will take place on October 18 and marks the first time the event will be held at a non-city operated location. Ryan said that the details on how everything is going to work are still being hammered out, but said that White Settlement residents will get into the event free of charge.
“We’re expecting to have the best Settler’s Day that we’ve ever had,” Ryan said.