Various updates given at monthly SEED meeting

Updates were heard on various topics by SEED (Sweetwater Enterprise for Economic Development) staff during the board of directors' meeting on Monday morning.Ken Becker, the executive director of SEED, shared that the construction work by TxDOT (Texas Department of Transportation) on Lamar Street was ahead of schedule. The earliest date mentioned for completion was the first part of this summer.Also regarding TxDOT, in their recent meeting with city officials, SEED staff was in attendance and expressed their concern on how the oil and gas development will affect traffic and impact roads. The meeting also included possible ideas for long-term solutions for the overpass on U.S. Highway 84.Currently, dirt work is taking place at the BNSF Logistics Center and is anticipating a May or June completion date. Furthermore, Buzzi Unicem is working toward a plant expansion, with established abatement plans with the county and hospital.In addition, Buzzi Unicem was one of two places that the Leadership Sweetwater group would be visiting this week, as stated by Kirstin Smith in her Asst. Marketing/Admin. Director update. She joined the group as they toured Buzzi Unicem and USG, both of which have new plant managers.She also gave a recap on the West Texas Energy Consortium (WTEC) inaugural meeting, in which the first phase of the economic impact study prepared by the University of Texas-San Antonio was presented. Phase 1 cited the counties that are attached to the outside of the new shale, while the upcoming Phase 2 report will address counties--which includes Nolan--that are inside the shale's geographic location. An additional report from the SMU Maguire Institute cited that the United States is #1 in energy production in the world in the areas of natural gas, wind, coal and nuclear, but is currently #2 in oil. However, the nation is projected to take the top spot in oil by 2015, and in the areas of oil, gas and wind Texas plays a major role. Over 200 guests attended the meeting.Also during the meeting, the board took no action on the financial incentive true-up for Cornett Computer Repair and Sales. The company is doing well, but since the requirements from the deal were not met, SEED did not have a financial obligation.Approval was given on the October 2013 financial statements, which were reviewed by Becker. Notably, unemployment for the county was reported at under 5%.The payment of accounts payable were reviewed and approved, as well as the minutes from the November meeting. The meeting concluded with the board taking part in a closed, executive session.