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Council approves grant for shooting events

By Bob Buckel | Published Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The city of Decatur will join the Decatur Economic Development Corp. (EDC) to provide a total of around $30,000 in economic incentives for the Texas Sporting Clays Championships, to be held in this area Sept. 17-21.

But they’re also working on a policy to guide future councils in responding to such requests.

The EDC last week approved a $15,000 grant from its marketing budget to help with advertising and promotion for the event.

Monday night, after about a 30-minute discussion, the city council approved a one-time grant of $5,000 from its Hotel Occupancy Tax and another $5,000 from sales tax funds. The city will also provide the use of the Decatur Civic Center free of charge for the Hall of Fame and awards banquet at the close of the event.

Fossil Pointe Sporting Grounds, located 14 miles northeast of Decatur on Farm Road 51, will host the five-day meet, which promises to bring hundreds of shooters to the area, along with families and others who follow the fast-growing sport.

Owners David and Maryam Niederer, along with John Calandro, president of the Texas Sporting Clays Association, were at Monday’s meeting to make the request of the council.

Maryam, who handles marketing for the facility, said the bulk of the promotion money will go for flyers, ads in industry magazines, social networking advertising and other efforts to get the word out throughout Texas and nationwide.

“We’re expecting over 700 shooters,” she said. “We believe if we advertise and promote properly, we can reach that goal and exceed it. The Texas State Championship is one of the top five events in the sporting clay world – in the country, not just for Texans.”

She noted they already have 130 shooters registered – 10 months out – and the first three registrants were from California.

“The city of Decatur doesn’t have enough hotel rooms for the guests that will be coming,” she said. “But this is our host city, and we want this to be a Decatur event. This is a stepping-stone for our facility – our goal is to host two or three events like this a year.”

She said one of the main goals with the September shoot is to prove that the local facility and community can handle the event.

“We feel like if we have the support from our local base, it will be a well-run event, people will enjoy staying in the area, and we will continue to have that draw,” she said.

Calandro echoed that.

“We’re excited about it,” he said. “We think it’s something that will happen every year here. It’s going to make you guys very important to our sport, both locally and nationally, and it’s going to be an investment that you guys will see many, many dividends from in the future.”

All six of the council members at the meeting voiced their approval, and the vote was unanimous. But Randy Bowker also said he was glad to see that a proposed policy was already in the council’s packet to govern such requests in the future.

“I think it’s a great event,” he said. “My only concern is making sure we have a policy going forward.”

That policy is designed to limit the city’s support for such events to a specified, budgeted “pot” of money from the HOT tax – determined at budget time in August.

“We’re going to have an application process,” city finance director Brad Burnett said. “You’re going to approve in the budget process what you’re going to fund for the year. We don’t want you having these coming back and you having to vote on one of these every month.”

The policy, he added, will also specify how much money from the HOT tax can be spent in any particular area. That provision is designed to protect the Civic Center, the Main Street Program and other things the city has been spending that tax revenue on.

“You guys can say we’ve got $10,000, $20,000 or whatever it is – and that’s all we have to spend in this area,” Burnett said. “Then all you have to do is divide the pie.”

OTHER BUSINESS

The council also raised the fees on sign permits and garbage rates, pulling out a proposed adjustment to restaurant inspection fees so that the wording of the ordinance can be further clarified.

The council OK’d moving the Decatur Chamber of Commerce’s “Moonlight Madness” lighted Christmas parade to this Friday, Dec. 20. The parade was to have been held on Dec. 6 or 7, but that was impossible due to the ice storm.

They also agreed to cancel a Dec. 23 meeting due to the Christmas holiday. The next council meeting will be Jan. 13.

At the start of the meeting, plats were approved on the recommendation of the Planning and Zoning Commission for:

  • Umesh Patel, for a 1.7-acre tract of land just west of U.S. 81/287 where the Telstar Motel is located. The owners plan to add onto the office portion of the motel and are working with the city to “clean up” the boundaries and lot lines.
  • Charles and Nancy Foster, for a 1.33-acre tract on the east side of U.S. 81/287 where Foster plans to build a home for his daughter. The re-plat divides one lot into two, so that Foster can retain a workshop on the other lot.
  • Dwight Reeves, on behalf of the First United Methodist Church, for a .87-acre tract just south of the church where a church facility and the former Decatur Fire Station, now owned by the church, occupy a city block. The church is remodeling the old fire station building, which actually straddled the property line. The re-plat cleans up that boundary.

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