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Houston County Courier - Local News

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Crockett City Council Hears CEIDC Report at Meeting

 

By Alton Porter
News Reporter
reporter@hccourier.com

The Crockett City Council heard a report from Executive Director James Gentry of the Crockett Economic and Industrial Development Corp. (CEIDC) at a council meeting Monday, Nov. 6. In his presentation, Gentry said, "At the end of our fiscal year, our sales tax allocation for fiscal year 2016-2017 was on target. We had projected a budget of $530,000. We actually had receipts of over $549,000 … for the economic development board. "During the past month, we've had five meetings with small business interests in our area, with small businesses developing business plans and—fast forward—for them to develop businesses here in our area." Gentry added, "I attended the annual Texas Economic Development Conference in Houston two weeks ago. And one of the several things that come with those is looking out for alternatives for financing and incentives for developing businesses—small and large— in our area. "One area that I'm targeting educationally is a New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) Program. We've introduced this to several businesses here in the area. And hopefully, some of those will be able to be taken advantage of." The NMTC Program incentivizes community development and economic growth through the use of tax credits that attract private investment to distressed communities. As of the end of fiscal year 2016, the NMTC had: (1) generated $8 of private investment for every $1 of federal funding, (2) created 178 million square feet of manufacturing, office and retail space, and (3) financed over 5,400 businesses. Gentry and CEIDC Board of Directors members Wade Thomas and Steve Meadows attended the Texas Forest Country Partnership's 2017 Economic Development Summit last Tuesday and Wednesday in Lufkin. "We've instituted litigation against Houston Serenity Place in connection with the performance agreement that we entered with them when they opened up the (residential treatment center for abused and neglected youth in Crockett) a year and a half ago," Gentry said. He said CEIDC Attorney William R. "Bill" Pemberton was to have initiated a lawsuit against Serenity Place this past week "for disposition of that litigation." The CEIDC executive director continued, "We've also met with other interests of businesses here in the area. We've been involved with assisting them with things such as accruements and other things that we can, working with legislators. We've helped them with that as well as looking at other alternative financing options, such as NMTC programs. "We visited with one entity that's interested in some of the business interests through the U.S. Department of Agriculture (Rural Development program), as well. "From that standpoint, we continue to aggressively have an open door policy to attract businesses to our area, but also to reach out to our existing businesses to maintain them or to assist them in training or developing aspects that we can help them with, in terms of financing, either through our technical schools or the workforce solutions office." Precinct 3 Councilmember Ernest Jackson asked Gentry, "What is the status right now with the (planned Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram of Crockett) dealership? How is that coming along?" Gentry answered, "The last call I had with them (the future proprietors of the proposed business) was Friday (Nov. 3)." They have received a commitment from Chrysler Capital for financing for most of the project and are negotiating with local banks trying to establish a footprint with an area financial institution for the rest of the financing before the end of the year, Gentry said. In other business, the councilmembers: • Unanimously voted to pass a motion made by Precinct 5 Councilmember Mike Marsh—seconded by Precinct 4 Councilmember Rita Rodriguez— to approve a resolution supporting a proposal to make large-scale improvements to U.S. Highway 287, which passes through Crockett, starting in the southeast Texas Gulf Coast city of Port Authur and extending some 1,791 miles northwest all the way up into Canada; • All voted to pass a motion made by Precinct 1 Councilmember Butch Calvert—seconded by Jackson—approving an ordinance that grants Oncor Electric Delivery Co., LLC, a 20-year electric power franchise to use, for an annual fee, city streets and other property for the delivery of electrical power to the company's customers in the city; • Voted 4-0, with Butch Calvert excusing himself from the vote, to pass a Marsh motion— seconded by Rodriguez—casting 165 of the city's 329 allotted votes for R.F. "Red" Kitchen and 164 of the votes for Kathi Calvert in an election to seat them for another term on the Houston County Appraisal District Board of Directors; • Unanimously voted to pass a Calvert motion—seconded by Rodriguez—approving Reihl Engineering as third-party engineering firm to review and sign off on an energy-saving performance contracting agreement Johnson Controls has with the City of Crockett and the related $829,000 project proposal; and • Following a brief public hearing, unanimously voted to pass a motion made by Precinct 2 Councilmember Darrell Jones—seconded by Jackson— granting a request by Genell Lamb and Carl Smotherman for a specific use permit to place a mobile home on a lot at 104 Thomas St.

 

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