NEWS HEADLINES

Decatur EDC board approves budget, funds Civic Center upgrades

By Bob Buckel | Published Saturday, August 23, 2014

Budgeting for the Decatur Economic Development Corp. is really pretty simple.

The entity has only one source of funds – a half-cent of the city’s 1.5-cent sales tax – and has only one purpose. It exists to promote the city of Decatur and work to attract business and industry to the community to provide jobs.

The sales tax, together with a few dollars in interest, will provide the EDC with estimated income of $1,252,000 next year.

The EDC makes payments on debt that was used to build the Decatur Civic Center ($430,261) as well as water and sewer extensions and a lift station for Landmark Industrial Park ($138,551) – a total of $578,812 next year.

It spends nearly $100,000 marketing the city to potential employers, pays its personnel and sticks some money in the bank – $100,000 next year – so it has funds available to make economic incentive grants, when needed, to companies who are considering moving here.

The EDC board approved the fiscal 2014-15 budget Thursday.

With all the projected expenses covered, the EDC should bank a surplus of slightly more than $200,000.

Directors spent a little of this year’s $125,000 surplus at Thursday’s meeting, funding $28,000 in capital expenditures for the Civic Center. That action came at the city council’s request.

“Council members, during Monday’s workshop, were hoping the EDC would consider coming up with a grant to assist the Civic Center with the capital needs they’ve identified for this year,” Mayor Martin Woodruff said. He and council members Jay Davidson and Jason Wren hold seats on both boards.

“I thought that was a good idea,” he added. “It would help us on the city’s budget. Right now we’re looking at a tight budget with an increase in the tax rate.”

Woodruff suggested that rather than adding the items to the proposed new budget, they be funded out of surplus funds in the current EDC budget, which runs through the end of September.

“It looks like we could stay within our current budget for this year and make a $28,000 grant, in September, to the Civic Center, to cover those costs,” Woodruff said.

Civic Center Director Lori Sherwood itemized the proposed expenses for the board:

  • $16,000 for a new magnetized dance floor, to replace the old one which takes much longer to install and has become somewhat unsafe.
  • $5,000 for a garbage disposal in the Civic Center’s busy kitchen, which has been without one for about a year.
  • $5,000 to replace the air conditioning unit in the foyer of the Great Hall.
  • $2,000 to replace some of the carpet tiles in the facility.

City Manager Brett Shannon said it will be no problem to put the action on the board’s next agenda and move the money before the end of the fiscal year.

Other highlights of next year’s EDC budget include $148,600 for salaries, $11,368 for FICA, $22,097 for the Texas Municipal Retirement System and $36,475 for health insurance – a total of $227,540 in personnel-related expenses.

The EDC also projects to spend $96,500 for marketing and promotions, $11,000 for travel and training and $8,900 on utilities.

OTHER BUSINESS

Also at its Thursday meeting, the board voted to update its performance agreement with United Rotocraft, LLC.

The company, which operates a 55,000-square-foot facility at Decatur Municipal Airport, customizes helicopters for air medical, military, law enforcement and corporate use.

In 2010, the EDC provided a $200,000 grant to help the company renovate the building, which is owned by Wise Electric Co-op. In return, the company pledged to hire 50 additional employees by March 2015.

Thursday’s action extended that deadline to March 2020. The new agreement also updates the name of the company to Air Methods Corp. and re-sets the base number of employees to 33. Under the agreement, they must have at least 83 employees by March 2020.

Air Methods is headquartered in Englewood, Colo.

Also on Thursday, the board heard updates on current recruitment efforts from director Mary Poche and handled other routine business. The EDC’s office is in the Visitor’s Center at 106 S. Trinity.

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