EDC hears report on recent retailer conference in Dallas

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by A.C. Hall

Last week, Economic Development Director Kyle Reeves gave a report on the recent Dallas retailer conference that the City of White Settlement attended.  Reeves spoke while a slide show played showing the large City of White Settlement booth at the event.  With a towering display, Reeves said the booth was visible from almost anywhere in the convention area.  He went on to say that the City had great attendance at the booth.
“We did gain a lot of contacts,” Reeves said.
He told the EDC that he’s already getting phone calls and setting up meetings with some of the potential businesses that he made contact with at the conference.
The retailer conference was also discussed later that evening at the monthly White Settlement City Council meeting.  Council member Elzie Clements gave high praise to those city representatives who worked the event and complimented the booth, saying it was the best he’s ever seen.  Clements also spoke about the time it can take to turn a contact made at a show like this into a business within the city.
“It can take a year to two years to get these people in here,” Clements said.
In his monthly report to the EDC, Reeves touched upon several business updates.  He spoke about the opening of a new auto repair shop as well as an ice dispenser business within the City.
Reeves also stated that there’s been more interest in some EDC held properties on Cherry Lane including the old Graystone Apartments lot.
“The real estate agent has called and has a few interested parties,” Reeves said.
The recently completed addition to the IHOP parking lot was also mentioned.
“That’s an entryway to the city and that’s gonna beautify that,” Reeves said.
Next, Parks and Recreation Director Rich Tharp gave his monthly update.  He spoke about several upcoming December events including the parade of lights Dec. 4 as well as the tree lighting that will follow the parade.
Tharp also stated that the dedication and ribbon cutting of the Lowe’s community garden behind the Library was set for Dec. 12.
“We’re excited about that and ready to get that started,” Tharp said.
Mayor Ronald A. White spoke about the impact the community garden will have for the citizens.
“That’s gonna be nice for the community,” Mayor White said.
In their monthly financial update, the EDC heard that the downturn in sales tax revenue is continuing.  Finance Director Phil Bray presented this information.
“So far sales tax revenues this year are down about twenty percent from what we had last year,” Bray said.

BIG application update
Reeves spoke to the EDC about an update that’s being completed on the Business Incentive Grant application process.  This long running EDC program allows local businesses to apply for limited reimbursement on external and internal upgrades and beautification to their businesses up to a maximum of $35,000.  Reeves stated that the new application process will be easier to read and understand and will gather more information about the business applying.  He also said a new summary sheet will simplify the EDC’s decision process as it will give them all the information they need to decide on grant applications without forcing them to read through the entire application.
Mayor White voiced his approval of this, saying it will help to have the application process be more uniform.
This item will come back before the EDC next month for approval.