(Editor’s note: This is the fifth story in a series of articles detailing economic development issues in Kingsville and how the EDC and Chamber is trying to bring jobs and companies to the area.)
Kingsville Economic Development Corporation (EDC) executive director Manny Salazar has taken his case for funding to the Kingsville City Commission.
Earlier in June, Salazar gave a 10-minute presentation on what the EDC does and what it hopes to do with adequate funding to help Kingsville grow and compete in the national and global market.
“We have all the ingredients to be really successful in Kingsville, but we are not going to be able to do it if we do not go out and compete in the marketplace,” Salazar told the commission. “But first, we have to get sites ready, collect data and identify targets of opportunity.”
During his presentation before the commission, Salazar gave a slide presentation on what EDC’s do, how they operate, and how they can be effective tools and weapons in economic growth and job retention in the communities they serve.
“It is important that we take on this mission of development and try to grow our job base,” Salazar said. “The numbers we are seeing clearly dictate we are facing serious issues right now, and they will only get worse if we don’t start the process of investing in development now.”
He pointed out that Kingsville has lost over 2,300 jobs in the last 15 years and that the population has “flatlined”, or has stayed the same or even shrunk in the last decade while the rest of the state has seen growth.
“We have all the assets right here that can help us move forward,” Salazar pointed out. “We are located right off the highway and future I-69 corridor, we have Texas A&M-Kingsville and all their resources, NAS-Kingsville, Celanese, the historic King Ranch. We can sell these assets in our effort to attract new commercial or industrial jobs to this area. We have government that understands and wants to grow.
“Now all we need is funding to help us achieve that goal.”
Salazar offered ideas on funding, and suggested the city help fund up to $425,000 for economic development related expenditures on an annual basis.
According to Salazar, the funding would help him hire staff to do research, plan and target customers along with helping business retention and growth. In addition, the funds would be used to help hire site selectors, attend trade shows where businesses looking to relocate are, and develop local sites for development including an industrial park.
“When you look at spending city tax dollars on the future development of Kingsville, the ROI (return on investment) the EDC can bring to the city is higher than any other aspect of city government,” Salazar said. “We have the plan in place to start, but I am a one-man show at the EDC and Chamber and I need resources if we are going to grow and make Kingsville the place people and companies want to do business in.”