Council approves EDC budget, strategic plan

The Borger Economic Development Corporation has received the okay from the Borger City Council to move forward with its plans for the upcoming year.The council acted Tuesday to approve the EDC’s budget and strategic plan for 2012-13. Dan Redd, BEDC CEO, was present to share his thoughts on both.Redd said in terms of the budget for next year, $561,000 has been budgeted to cover projects. $200,000 is in the form of guaranteed loans.“It’s good to have those projects,” he said. “It’s good to be spending that money.”Redd said he took the income from the first seven months of the year and extrapolated it out over 12 months. The amount was $917,000. He said he hopes the overall amount will be more than that.In terms of the EDC’s strategic plan, Redd said he analyzed the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats that Borger has. He said Borger has many more strengths than threats.A strength that the city currently has in its favor is the contract work out at the plants, he said. He said the city will see some good things happen because of that, along with the short and long-term benefits of construction also benefiting the community.Redd also said local residents appear to be spending more of their money here in Borger. He said he doesn’t have exact figures, but with a threat to Borger being the loss of sales to area communities, he hopes to see continued sales growth in the area with some of the new business coming in to town.He said the feasibility study that is currently underway for a new events center in Borger should promise some good news, and the new terminal at the Hutchinson County Airport has been completed.Redd said a threat to Borger is that it is landlocked. The EDC has purchased 130 acres that it hopes to develop into a business park, but there is a shortage of existing buildings for those that might need them. However, he said there is a tax credit for wind energy currently up for consideration, and it is passed, it could be promising for the Panhandle area. He said the biggest threat, in his opinion, is a shortage of employees that are needed for expansions going on in Borger. “That’s just a problem,” Redd said. “Hopefully, as the jobs come, people will come in and do them.”He said he thinks Borger is doing well, and there are some good opportunities ahead. He said he appreciates the cooperation of the city.When it comes to new businesses, he said there are 30-35 people that walk through the doors of the EDC each year with ideas. The corporation has a consultant, Spencer McElhannon, that comes in and offers these people advice on how to get started, and asks them the questions they need to consider before pursuing such ventures. By law, the EDC is not allowed to financially aid retail businesses.