Houston County Courier - Local News
Stories Added - February 2009
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Culp Reviews 13-Year History of CEIDC
Houston County Courier - February 2009
By Sharron Randall
During the Crockett Area Chamber of Commerce luncheon Wednesday, Feb. 5, Tim Culp, executive director of Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corporation and guest speaker, reviewed the 13-year history of the CEIDC and its ensuing accomplishments.
The CEIDC was organized July 3, 1995 after the citizens of Crockett voted to use one-half of one percent of the sales and use tax for the promotion and development of a 4A Economic and Industrial Development Corporation.
The first board was made up of Chairman James Turn, members Delvin Atchison, Ellen Curry, Jerry Pipes and Otis Wooten. Today Jake Caprielian serves as chairman with members James Gentry, Patsy Barney, Elmer Murray and Terry Cutler.
There have been six executive directors: John Chamberlin, John Kroll, Harold Dean, Hunter Hilburn, Eric Winter and Culp who has been director since March 4, 2004.
The purpose of the CEIDC, as explained by Culp, following its by-laws, is to promote, assist and enhance economic development activities and quality of life opportunities within the city and its extraterritorial jurisdiction that promote economic development.
Section 4A tax proceeds may be used to fund any of 11 types of expenditures under the Development Corporation Act, which include business airports, port-related facilities, manufacturing and industrial facilities, research and development facilities, recycling facilities, distribution centers, small warehouse facilities serving as decentralized storage and distribution centers, primary job training facilities for use by institutions of higher education, regional or national corporate headquarters facilities, job training classes, and certain infrastructure improvements that promote or develop new or expanded business enterprises.
Culp said that from its inception, CEIDC has worked to attract outside businesses and focused on local business retention, expansion and creating or retaining primary jobs, which infuses new dollars into the local economy.
Crockett and Houston County are competing with cities twice their size with three times the budget. According to Texas A&M University 15,000 economic development organizations are competing for approximately 1,500 projects.
Culp said that CEIDC remains competitive because of some significant actions: the construction of the Industrial Park; purchase of a building, first as a business incubator, which ultimately sold for a new business; provided help to improve water and sewer systems for several projects; assisted with tax abatements; approved infrastructure improvements; and insured the creation or retention of jobs, both in the city and the county.
CEIDC has also contributed to several economic development enhancement projects such as a water study, feasibility study, development of an Enterprise Zone through the Texas Department of Economic Development, expansion of the Houston County Airport, and the purchase of a rail spur.
Culp pointed out that assistance from CEIDC does not always come in the form of cash incentives. He said, "Often times it is by providing information and giving direction to a particular issue or question."
Since 2000, over 33 businesses have opened or expanded in Crockett. Today 31 of the 33 are still in business, representing over 200 jobs and over $7 million in property value.
CEIDC has paid direct incentives in the amount of approximately $704,525.84, creating or retaining over 100 primary jobs, and creating and retaining approximately $9 million in property tax value.
But perhaps one of the most important current enhancement projects that CEIDC is engaged, which will benefit the entire county and neighboring counties, is the impending construction of a Vocational/Technical Higher Education facility in partnership with Angelina College.
Culp said, "Today the goal appears to be close." An architect has been hired, plans are in place, and a construction manager has been hired CEIDC awaits the United States Department of Agriculture to set aside the funds needed to construct the facility.
Currently it appears that the time frame for these funds to be set aside is between 30 days and six months.
Concluding his talk and slide presentation, Culp said that today CEIDC continues to work with seven projects that are interested in Crockett, there is over $1.9 million in debt free assets, nearly $4.5 million in sales tax has been received and approximately $3.6 million has been spent on assets and prospect incentives.
The balance of approximately $892,726.52 averages to approximately $68,671 per year for the past 13 years to be used for administrative and marketing purposes.
He asked the audience to think back. "Absolutely nothing that I have mentioned today has been accomplished by CEIDC alone.
"In order for this community to continue to grow and prosper and weather hard times, we must work together.
"We must set aside our differences and not cause distraction. We must communicate with each other and work toward the common goal of preparing for the future."