The last year was a good one for the Brownfield Economic Development Corp. and the city it serves and this year could be even better.
That was the gist of the annual report to the city council Thursday morning by BIDCorp executive director David Partlow.
He spent considerable time at the podium during the first council meeting of the new year to illustrate what BIDCorp accomplished in the past year, his second on the job.
“BIDCorp.’s three areas of focus are in business expansion, business recruitment and marketing,” he said. “We believe we had an outstanding year in all of these areas.”
Partlow told the council about the series of marketing workshops for local business owners.
Four workshops were held and hosted an average of 15 local business owners for noon-hour programs at city hall.
“In this business, the most success comes out of helping existing companies expand their current business,” he said. “In my experience, the majority of new jobs come from established businesses growing so we are committed to helping the people in Brownfield.”
In August, Partlow helped host a Governor’s Small Business Forum in conjunction with economic development agencies in neighboring communities.
Brownfield’s Cooper Natural Resources and Lone Star State Bank were honored at the function.
Under Partlow’s guidance BIDCorp. also formed a Business Retention Committee, which visits local companies to view their operation and discuss their needs and desires for growth.
Several tours were conducted during the year, which led to BIDCorp.’s involvement with the expansion of Crop Production Services and Terry County Tractor.
One of the most immediate successes of the year was the joint venture between BIDCorp. and the City of Brownfield to fund a Property Improvement Plan that granted matching funds to local businesses to improve their facades.
In a matter of days, the money allotted for the program was awarded to 11 local businesses who used the funds to spruce up their business fronts.
Partlow said the $25,000 investment by the city resulted in almost $70,000 pumped into the local economy, as well as a fresh look for several highly visible businesses in town.
Further restoration will be made possible in the coming years by the city’s establishment of a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) Zone.
The TIF will help raise funds to revamp an eyesore vacant lot into a “pocket park” and also renovate several areas along Main Street and around the courthouse square.
“With these improvements, I believe that we will bring Brownfield downtown back to vibrance,” he said.
He next told the council about improvements made to BIDCorp.’s website and its entrance into the world of social media with its Facebook page.
Business recruitment was also a topic of his discussion with an emphasis on Halliburton.
“We have been working with Halliburton for more than a year, but a lot happened in 2013 thanks to the hard work of a lot of people,” he said. “It’s obviously a very big deal for Brownfield. Once Halliburton has their ground breaking, we think the door will open to many other small businesses.”
Texas Custom Wine Works and Sanders Ag also were big “gets” for the city during the year that will boost the local ag economy.
“The biggest thing to remember is that nobody gets our money unless they earn it,” he said. “They have to prove they have done what they said they would do before we cut a check. We keep the tax payer’s money safe and we are very proud of that.”