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The SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) Board of Directors met for their monthly meeting on Monday morning, December 12, 2011 at the Sweetwater Chamber of Commerce.
Jim Clements with Oncor attended the meeting to discuss two issues: an update on the CREZ transmission project and the SEED Business Park lighting.
With five substations, a majority of the CREZ line has been completed. From a more narrow perspective, the local area has already been energized.
However, even while the line is energized, theft has hurt the continuation of the project in that copper is being stolen onsite. Oncor is working toward alleviating the problem.
Mr. Clements also brought and showed the board members parts of the conductors being used on the project. He gave a timeline that the connection to Temple is slated for the end of 2012; the entire system should be completed sometime in 2013.
Regarding the lighting at the industrial park, various installation options were given. Mr. Clements also offered his recommendations by installing two lights at the entrance in a way which would allow for more lights to be added upon later installation.
He noted that the company would work with the SEED board on design and engineering--as they work with the long-term picture in mind--as appearance is vital to the project. While SEED will additionally finance the project, the lighting can only be completed under the city's authority.
Later in the meeting, the board approved the dedication of the Business Park road to the City of Sweetwater, which would be presented to the City Commission at their January meeting.
A name for the new road at the Business Park was also considered, which consisted of two options--Commercial Drive or Commerce Street.
Both names, the board agreed, captured the nature of the business opportunities the park possesses. The board approved the two names for selection, which will be also be presented to the City Commission for approval.
Other action items on the agenda included approval of the October 2011 financial statements. Ken Becker, executive director of SEED, gave a brief and positive report in that sales tax numbers continue to rise while unemployment numbers have decreased.
A brief discussion was held on potential reasons and factors as to why the sales tax numbers have considerably grown. City Manager Eddie Brown, who was at the meeting, noted that he and city staff are continually examining the situation.
Also approved at the meeting were the payment of accounts payable and the two meetings from November 2011--the regular meeting and the board retreat.
A brief report was given by Kirstin Smith, the Asst. Marketing/Admin. Director. She urged the board to offer their feedback from the November board retreat and also reminded them of SEED's Open House scheduled for Friday, December 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Becker then gave his monthly report with a discussion about the potential of posting billboards on the interstate spanning from Eastland to Big Spring.
A variety of prices and information was presented with negotiations with companies continuing. The issue and a timeline will be further discussed at the January meeting, along with two other marketing signs which will also be placed at the Business Park.
In addition, Mr. Becker also noted of a possibility of attending a site selector conference scheduled for mid-January in Orlando, Florida. Inquiries about the conference have been sent to the organization heading up the conference.
Several similar entities around the area have praised the event, which includes seminars and one-on-one presentations. The board concluded that, if he received promising information back about the conference, Mr. Becker should attend the meeting which could prove to be a great opportunity.