On August 18th the Borger Economic Development Corporation agreed to provide funds which will be used to move pipelines from an area of land being considered for the future home of a Wal-Mart Super Center.
The EDC Board of Directors approved providing around $250,000 to assist DCP Midstream and local businessman Odis McCellan in rerouting pipeline around a section of land located near the new hospital site between Highway 136 and Carbon Road.
Since the action, the EDC has been questioned by a couple of local business owners if the move violates the EDC’s by-laws and makes for an unfair playing field for other businesses in town.
Local business owners argue that the EDC’s by-laws block such a move stating EDC money must be used for manufacturing, where 75% of income comes from outside of Hutchinson County, and money cannot be used to help a competing business.
On Monday morning, Borger EDC CEO Dan Redd said the EDC’s decision to provide funds to the relocation of the pipeline falls under the guidelines of a proposition approved by the voters of the city of Borger back in May of 1998.
In the election, seven propositions were passed authorizing the EDC to assist in various local projects including using funds to help local education facilities, public facility improvements and under Proposition 6, assisting in the development of land for retail and commercial use.
In regards to the pipeline project, Redd said, “There is no question the relocating the pipeline will help in developing that land for a future Wal-Mart. However, people need to understand that the funds used will move the pipeline from a whole section of land so it can be developed for other projects outside of the Wal-Mart.”
Redd went on to say there has been interest in building an assisted living facility in the area and believes once the Wal-Mart is built there will be interest in putting in other retail businesses in the area. The proposed Wal-Mart would use nearly 17 acres of the land in the section where the pipeline is to be relocated.
Redd understands the primary objective of the EDC is to bring in and develop industrial or production type jobs. However, Redd said the addition of a Wal-Mart Supercenter could help in creating new jobs in Borger.
Redd said, “On average, the Hutchinson County unemployment rate is around two points higher than the other counties in the Texas Panhandle. I would like to see that number go lower and I expect a Supercenter will open up more job opportunities and help that rate go lower.”
The workforce data from July backs up Redd’s statement that Hutchinson County’s unemployment rate was at 7.6% compared to 5.2% for Moore County, 6.9% for Gray County and 4.7% for Ochiltree County.
Redd pointed out due to the propositions passed in the May 1998 election, the EDC has been able to provide funds towards Frank Phillips College projects and the new Hutchinson County Airport Terminal.
Redd added that in these type of projects, the EDC enters into a matching funds type agreement and said the money Wal-Mart will put in to develop the land for a new store will more than match any funds the EDC provides in relocating the pipeline.