EDC, CDC exist to strengthen local economy
Published Friday, June 22, 2012
By Chantal Kirkland and Isaac Linton
Part 1 of 2
The city of Justin has two entities that exist solely to strengthen the local economy.
The Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and the Community Development Corporation (CDC) both are funded by sales tax proceeds and have the authority to do similar things. In Justin, the two corporations work together on several projects, but each has its own focus.
Both work to guide the city toward solid, sustainable growth.
As authorized by city voters, the EDC and CDC are each funded through a half-cent sales tax collected from businesses within the City of Justin. The way these dollars are used is governed by two boards, one for the EDC and one for the CDC, both of which also report to the Justin City Council.
Current CDC board members are Rod Addington, Mike Russ, Bonnie Washburn, Stephen Chambers, Elizabeth Cassels, Jamey Lamm and Sandra Copp. Staff serving both the EDC and CDC include Executive Director Chantal Kirkland and Assistant Director Isaac Linton.
Utilizing only the sales tax dollars allocated, and not property tax or city general funds, both the EDC and CDC are authorized by law to assist with the community’s economic development through a variety of methods. All of these efforts can be seperated into two groups – supporting existing businesses, and attracting new development.
While supporting existing businesses can include a number of things (offering a place for businesses to train their employees, helping them find resources, etc.), it often comes down to listening to each business as to what they might need.
Efforts to attract new development primarily include providing information, installing infrastructure, and offering incentives for development. The Economic/Community Development Office is focused on listening and finding out how it can best help local businesses succeed and encourage new businesses to locate in Justin.
That’s precisely what the CDC has been focusing on for the last two years: listening. We hope you’ve seen the results around town, even if you didn’t know the catalyst for some of the changes occurring.
First, we hope everyone has had a chance to go by the newest, biggest recreation facility in Justin off of Boss Range Road – Community Park and Ball Field facility. The City of Justin authorized a bond for that project several years ago, in partnership with the CDC, allowing the CDC to pay for 100 percent of the bonds to construct that project with sales tax dollars allocated to the CDC.
That was done so that the community would have a quality facility for baseball and softball recreation without the citizens having to pay for that facility through their property taxes. With the remaining bond proceeds from Community Park (which cannot be returned and must be used for park purposes, per the bond restrictions), the CDC has been making some upgrades to other parks around town.
One of these is the new playground the CDC built in the park next to City Hall on College Street. The CDC helped rehabilitate the t-ball field and is also in the process of improving Bishop Park on FM156, Reatta Ridge Park on Reatta Drive, and a trail connection from Reatta Ridge to Justin Elementary.
All of these improvements should be complete before the end of this summer, and all are being paid for with sales tax through the CDC – not through property taxes.
Having high-quality parks enhances the quality of life in Justin and helps entice new businesses and home builders, but that is not the sole focus of the CDC. The CDC is also working with the City on the construction of a new road to open several pad sites on FM156, and several other exciting projects to be announced in the coming months.
The CDC board has also initiated a program called the Fa ade Grant Program which helps businesses update the front face of their buildings. Improvements at Major League Realty (stone on the small building) and the Mule Barn (the new patio) are in place, and coming soon is brick on the front of Mom’s Caf . All of it is being done with sales tax money.
The CDC board is very excited to be helping get these projects moving and hopes to continue. However, it is a continual learning process and we are eager to listen to the community to find out what’s really needed.
We would love to hear from you. if you would like to join us, we usually meet the third Tuesday of the month at 7 p.m. at the EDC/CDC Offices at 117 W. 4th Street in Justin. If you can’t make it to a meeting but have any questions about the community’s economic and community development efforts, the two Corporations or the general economic situation in Justin, please feel free to call the office at 940-648-3800.
Chantal Kirkland is executive director and Isaac LInton is assistant director for the Justin Economic Development Corporation and the Justin Community Development Corporation.