SEED begins budget process

The SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) Board of Directors approved a proposal by Oncor for street lighting in the Business Park during their meeting on Monday morning, May 14, 2012 at the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce building.Two proposals were presented to the board, with both noted as being well priced. By working with Oncor, SEED will have the benefit of the city's low rates for lights.The turnkey option was selected, in which the energy company will be responsible for the entire project. This proposal totals to around $18,991 for eight lights, with around a monthly average bill of $9 for each light.Also approved at the meeting were the minutes from the April 2012 meeting and the payment of accounts payable. The March 2012 financial statements were reviewed and additionally approved. The sales tax numbers — while finally leveling off from their sharp increase over several months — were reported at an $11,000 increase from the past year.The Asst. Marketing/Admin. Director update was given by Kirstin Smith on a couple of items. The Google Analytics report for the SEED website was given, which offers feedback from the use of the website. Over a three-week time frame, 142 visits to the site were recorded from 101 different domains. The languages were noted as being from Denmark, English from other countries and English from the United States.Pathways were also reported, in that many visitors are heading toward the properties page to the real estate page as well. The site has proven successful thus far, with the expectations of the web update to be part of the monthly report.The upcoming Windpower conference, to be held in Atlanta, Georgia this year, was also highlighted. SEED staff will be headed to the event on June 1, with the conference starting from the June 3-6. The booth for the conference will be sent to Sweetwater hopefully by May 21, to allow for a run through before shipping it to Atlanta by the 25th of May.Ken Becker also gave his monthly Executive Director's update. Continued work regarding contracting and leasing continues with Cape and Son on their economic opportunity, with the hope of strong options for Sweetwater. Also, Mustang Apartments are already open with a leasing agent onsite. The budget process for SEED has started, with a tentative budget possibly to be presented at the next meeting, set at the later date of June 18, due to the Windpower conference.Initial talks have begun with an oil company regarding leasing for a regional office to include equipment and personnel. Board members were asked to be available for any other upcoming discussions with the business to pursue the opportunity. In addition, SEED has plans to hopefully facilitate a biomass project, which produces fuel from cedar and mesquite wood to be sent to China. Jacque McCoy with the Chamber briefly spoke at the meeting, thanking the board for the opportunity to go to the Windpower conference this year. She also reminded them of the Chamber's appreciation banquet on Friday, May 18, as local business EMA will give an update at the event.