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News

ICYMI - Wylie EDC in the News


WEDC works to spur growth

By Joe Reavis

Staff Writer

news@wylienews.com

For an organization that does not tend to toot its own horn, Wylie Executive Development Corporation has worked for 30 years bringing industry and business to town.

The organization was chartered in 1990 as an autonomous arm of the city of Wylie, bankrolled by a half-cent sales tax. Voters approved forming the WEDC and granting it sales tax money.

Appointments made by the city council, monthly filing of financial reports with the city and filing an annual report, provided oversight of the corporation. Recently, the council voted to review incentives the WEDC offers to businesses and industry before they are put into action.

Although some opposition to the change was expressed on the grounds that council review could slow approval of incentives, and that the added oversight was not necessary for the past 30 years, WEDC Executive Director Sam Satterwhite took it in stride.

"We serve at the will of the council," he said. "We are all on the same team."

The WEDC receives more than $2.5 million per year in sales tax money that is used to fund operations. The organization may buy and renovate properties for resale, offer monetary incentives to help a business expand or to locate in Wylie, and help fund job training programs.

Satterwhite reported that much of the sales tax revenue is generated by shoppers from outside the community.

Last year, the organization executed 10 performance agreements totaling 339,000 square feet of new construction and facilitated $37 million in new investment, the 2018 annual report showed.

The WEDC executive explained that incentives help create a competitive advantage for businesses to locate in Wylie, help offset startup costs, seek out businesses to court and redevelop property.

As an example, Wylie assesses development fees to help fund construction of streets and other infrastructure that may be needed for a business development. Incentives can help offset those fees.

Satterwhite said that most incentives are tied to the taxable value of property as a boost to city property tax revenue as a business building is constructed or expanded.

"It is less susceptible to the economy," he said of the taxable value approach.

However, if a business has a low property tax value and a high number of employees, WEDC will offer incentives based on the number of jobs the business brings to the community.

As a protection, WEDC incentives are geared toward the end of a project. Simply, funds are not paid out until a business has met objectives spelled out in an agreement. That approach eliminates having to try and recover funds if the terms of an agreement are not met.

A recent example is an incentive arrangement with a hotel built in Wylie. The business failed to meet the terms of the agreement, so the deal was negated and no funds were expended.

Satterwhite reported that the WEDC currently has $602,000 in outstanding incentives and has budgeted for $551,000 in fiscal year 2019-20.

A big part of the corporation's work is buying and preparing properties for resale to attract businesses to town. WEDC worked with Kansas City Southern Railroad to move its train tracks away from Hwy. 78 several years ago to create a corridor of properties with highway frontage, then funded a cleanup of the property so that it would be commercially viable.

Part of the corridor, near the Hwy. 78 and FM 544 intersection, contained several small industrial sites. Over 10 years, the corporation bought the sites and cleared them of buildings. WEDC then started selling the property, with one of the parcels going to construct a Chick-fil-A restaurant. Sale of the parcels recouped money the WEDC invested.

The organization recently started acquiring 13.2 acres at Hwy. 78 and Brown Street for redevelopment and has already cleared some structures on the property.

Two weeks ago, the city council approved a project to provide $11,500 to SAF Holland for a job-training program.

Goals for the future include a partnership with KCS to develop a 250-acre tract adjacent to its intermodal terminal as a logistics park, market a tract on FM 544 that was revitalized with federal money to remove polluted soil, continue downtown revitalization and expansion, sell the remaining Hwy. 78 site and develop an industrial park on Alanis Drive.

Please follow this link to the original article on the Wylie News website.

 

About the Wylie Economic Development Corporation

The Wylie Economic Development Corporation (WEDC) is funded through a citywide half-cent sales tax that is impacted/funded via the 220,000 consumers in our retail trade area. The WEDC facilitates corporate relocations, local expansions of existing businesses, retail/commercial development and revitalization projects that lead to the creation of new jobs and the generation of additional tax revenue for the community.

For more information, visit www.WylieEDC.com.