EDC modifies façade grant process

During its regular Nov. 02, 2017 meeting, the Forney Economic Development Corp. met and in summary:

  • Financial Report - 8% through year, revenue at 7.5% of budget, actual revenue is up from last year, expenses trending lower than last year.
  • Executive Director's Report: Mr. Ketteman showed the Merit Recognition award recently received for the downtown project. They interviewed people for admin assistant position and have tendered an offer. Met with representative from Coserve Gas regarding their plans in Forney. Held a real estate FAM tour with about 40 realtors, developers and bankers; it was a half-day event. They attended a mandatory sales tax training event in Mesquite.
  • Approved a modified expiration amendment for the downtown façade grant application.
    Mr. Ketteman said they have recently reworked the application, need to change so grants don't get stagnant. He suggested changing "6 months after permit" to "within 8 months of approval of grant." Mr. Alexander asks if 8 months is normal; Mr. Ketteman says probably long. Ms. Lewis asks if applicant can request an extension; Mr. McGregor said they would recommend applicant to wait to apply, if needed. Mr. Ketteman said could add language for extension to require board approval. Mr. Burrus asked about city permit process; Mr. Ketteman said is fairly quick process. Mr. Burrus suggested leaving 6 months after permit & add language to get permits in 2 months, and moved to approve that change, plus extensions by board approval.
  • Discussed the Forney EDC Strategic Plan for almost an hour: Mr. McGregor said this 5-year plan was approved 2 years ago. He said they have completed the business database, and noted the top 25 employers. Working on business retention by starting a business round-table, plus a visitation schedule.
        Staff wants to restart the Eggs & Updates breakfast events, but in its original form which is for local officials to meet and discuss issues. The board agreed.
        Mr. Ketteman said the business plan contest didn't get good response, will try again. Entrepreneur forum was well attended.
        Staff has had several prospects for dual-feed data center businesses, and will continue working on that, as they provide good tax revenue.
        Will work on plans for Liberty Hill to become a gateway site, once the roads are completed and Lady Liberty returns.
        For business development "Talking Points"- the new admin assistant and Kyle Rouvaldt will work on that. Mr. McGregor will take over the social media campaign as time allows. Ms. Browning said social media should be higher priority.
        Staff is aware many Forney residents want to work in Forney, staff will continue trying to bring quality employers to Forney.
        US 80 project is coming along; there was a problem with new Broad St. exit ramp, but it is open now. There will be continuous frontage road off the exit.
        Mr. Ketteman said this is the Year of Infrastructure - water, sewer, roads, drainage - it's not glamorous and it is expensive, but without that you can't get growth.
        Gateway to downtown - staff needs suggestions for sign placement. $30k has been approved for entry signs.
        Mr. Burrus asked: with a census year coming up, what is the probability of a category change, and what changes should the board be making prior to such a change. Mr. Ketteman said hitting the 20,000 category was likely, and that would change how the board can offer incentives, such as removing direct incentives to retailers.
  • Held a 57-minute executive session
  • Took no action.
  • Adjourned at 20:41
Thursday, 2017, November 2