SEED discusses budget

The Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development (SEED) Board of Directors met for their meeting on Monday morning, July 11, 2011 at the Chamber of Commerce building.A winning bid for the 88 acre road construction was awarded to Epic Construction of Abilene and approved by the board. David Todd from Enprotec/Hibbs & Todd oversaw the bid selection and made the presentation. Five bids with a wide range of prices were presented to the board for the project. The construction will be for an industrial street which will be 40 feet wide and extend 850 feet with a cul-de-sac at the end. Following the road construction by the Abilene-based company, SEED will then focus their efforts towards lighting on the road.The proposed budget for the upcoming fiscal year was also reviewed by the board during the meeting. In order to stay in the timeline of the city, SEED completed their projected budget earlier this year. Executive Director of SEED, Ken Becker, presented the budget and discussed several aspects from the proposal.Becker highlighted how the budget will be used both for local and national initiatives, including such funding for travel, advertisement and technology. During budget talks, one amendment noted was for both Becker and Assistant Marketing/Administrative Director Kirstin Smith to receive pay raises should the city administer raises for its employees. The board approved the proposed budget with its amendments.In other financial-related news, the payment of accounts payable and the financial statements from May 2011 were approved. Out of the past eight months, seven of those months have reported sales tax numbers as being up. Also approved were the minutes from the June 2011 meeting.Smith also gave a brief report during her Asst. Marketing/Admin. Director update, reiterating information from budget discussions that direct mailings were slated to begin. The brochures would be done by Dustin Pittman, who would work with SEED for design work and general information on the mail-out which would extend publicity as far as Denmark with a pending trip this fall.Smith also reminded board members that presenters would be needed for the Speakers Bureau held at the Roscoe High School. The program resumes in August and takes place two times a month.More information on the potential trip to Denmark was also presented by Becker during his report. In a joint effort with Amarillo's economic development group, the trip is scheduled to take place in late September. Networking opportunities with companies that could come Stateside, along with receptions and marketing make up the itinerary and cost of the trip.Sources within the Amarillo group believe the trip to be a great step in bringing more prospects, as Amarillo already heavily seeks out international businesses. The goal would be similar for SEED — to locate a business that could come to Sweetwater from Denmark, with the possibility of even expanding business beyond the wind energy market.The board was in favor of SEED taking part in the international endeavor, with the hope that the trip will prove to be a great learning experience in order to determine future involvement beyond regional and state ventures.Becker also updated the board on other matters, including a laptop that is no longer needed by SEED and could possibly be donated to a local non-profit organization. A brief update on the Industrial Park was also noted from a meeting with the Lubbock entity at an Abilene gathering. In addition, Becker noted that he and Nolan County Judge Tim Fambrough would be attending the Tenaska public hearing in Stamford, which was held on Monday night, July 11.