FEDC ponders census help, downtown parking lot

During its regular June 13, 2019 meeting, the Forney Economic Development Corp. met and in summary: approved funding for census 2020 efforts, and for downtown parking lot. Approved incentive for new business OST Sports Performance & Fitness.

  • Financial report: 2/3 thru year, 71% of revenue, nice to see those trending ahead of projections, holding expenses down.  Mr. Ketteman said expenses are a function of when things come due, if don't use funds for programs, can move them around.
  • Executive Director's report: Mr. Ketteman said Mary is out for a Basic EDC course in Rockwall, had sales tax training earlier in year.  Many meetings this month, attend DRC meetings every Tuesday for project updates, usually take 2 hrs; ICSC in Vegas had 30 meetings with prospects; Kaufman Google seminar, 60 people attended; visited Crandall EDC; Dallas Chamber recruiting trip in Chicago, and Team Texas meeting for foreign investments in Washington DC; W. Broad sewer underway, still working with Atmos re: gas line; Trailhouse Rd. project is moving dirt; Main St. visioning will be presented to next council; sub-courthouse parking approved by city and county; multiple assistance requests to be discussed in executive session.
  • Appointed Ms. Amanda Lewis as new FEDC Board Secretary.  Mr. Tayamen resigned due to work schedule conflicts.
  • Approved $3k for sponsoring a local 2020 U.S. Census promotion.
        Mr. Ketteman recalled being on a count committee in 1999.  As EDC director, it's difficult when getting away (in time) from census data, it's better when data is fresh.  Census has a new website with more data.  Mr. Ken Leonard is seeking support from area EDCs.  Staff requesting $3,000, have unexpended project funds that may be used.
        Mr. Leonard is a partnership specialist for 2020 census, he has 38 counties, hiring other specialists to take other counties.  He did 2010 census near College Station.  He talks to local officials about forming full-count committees.  In 90's government had federal employees visiting those unlikely to respond, which is not a good idea.  Cities and Counties recommended allowing local people to do that.  Census numbers are important for grants, congressional representation & benefits.  Asking for enough money for committee to perform action, such as yard signs.  This is first time can respond to census online or by phone.  Will be sending out 5 notices about census.  He has worked in disaster relief for 7 years, some cities have splits among citizens; Everyone can work together and bond on a project like this. 
        Pres. McBeth asked about percentage of non-responders - Mr. Leonard said Forney is in fairly good shape, but Terrell & Kaufman about 25% non-response.  Forney is 15%, Travis Ranch is 10%. He worked on NCTCoG grant-scoring committee, major item in score is number of low-income people helped - need to get low-income folks to respond to census.  Median income in Forney is $80k.  Pres. McBeth asked if can make adjustments to census data; yes, but it's difficult.  Non-citizens tend to not respond - the personal information is locked away for 72 years, it is a crime to release it.  Census date is April 1, Dec. 31 is when raw data provided to president, with no personal data. 
        Ms. Browning asked if he talked to council - yes, they will form a complete-count committee and help with promotion for jobs, which are at 2020census.gov/jobs Mr. Ketteman said it's important for EDCs, data is used for real estate, office locations, medical facilities, distribution and warehousing, manufacturers, retailers.  It's something the FEDC should support.  This is not additional money, just moving it around.
        Mr. Leonard thanked EDC for helping.
  • Approved committing 50% not to exceed $45k for downtown parking, next to the sub-courthouse.
        Mr. Ketteman said county will provide labor, city will provide financial and inspection. Originally was $150k estimate, now expecting to be $90k, suggests EDC provides $50k, city will provide $40k.  People are looking at downtown area to add businesses.  Eric Davis Engineering did graphic? schematic? work for free; they have 75+ employees.  Council approved using asphalt instead of concrete; county will eventually expand sub-courthouse, can then recycle this parking lot.  Pres. McBeth asked about designated parking areas; Mr. Ketteman said there has been no discussion about that.  Ms. Lewis asked about curbs - Mr. McGregor said there will be a concrete ribbon around the lot to contain it.
        Ms. Browning said shouldn't put in more than the city, prefers the 50% option.
  • Held a 61-minute executive session re:
  • Pres. McBeth asked applicant Mr. Kris Briggs about financing - he said had entrepreneur class at SMU, he planned to play pro football.  When his son turned 4, he realized he worked well with kids at sports.  Parents began to ask him to train their kids, he never asked to do it, but it comes natural to him.  In the first month had 15, now has 50 kids.  He has settled on group pricing for lessons.  Having been trained as an athlete has helped.  He bounced around 4 NFL teams, helps him know how to prepare people.  Pres. McBeth asked about the facility - Mr. Briggs worked w/ Mustang Creek Business park for building.  He and friends did the work inside, is at a point where can hold classes.  Is 6 months into 3 year lease. 5,000 sq. ft.  He rents the whole building, that is a unsaturated market.  Mr. Ketteman said Profit Row is a doughnut hole for city limits, state law allows working in the ETJ, with approval of county.  Ms. Lewis asked about jobs - Mr. Briggs said he's very cautious, he wants to build his brand, wants to hire people that are sports-specific.  He has reach beyond Forney, for finding employees.  Mr. McGregor asked if contract or FT (full-time) - both, depending on person.  Ms. Browning asked if can hit 10-15 employees in 12 months - he said yes, if get another 50 kids will need a 10k sq. ft. building.  Pres. McBeth asked about equipment - Mr. Briggs spoke about a jump-training machine, will need to occupy 650 sq ft of gym equipment, no way to do it cheap.  Fitness is popular in this town, he wants to build a college-style facility.  Pres. McBeth said they can't fully fund it; Mr. Briggs said he can work with whatever he has, it makes him a sharper tool.  Ms. Lewis thanked him for making a difference.
        Approved to pay for HVAC installation up to $6k, incentive $1,500 / job up to 15 full-time jobs within one year.  Ms. Browning said she has heard nothing but good things about Mr. Briggs.
  • Mr. McGregor said next month will be HOT funds recommendations.
  • Adjourned at 2037.
Thursday, 2019, June 13