It might be time for Beaumont to add an EDC

We thought Beaumont City Council made the smart decision last week to hold its first “vision workshop” meeting, and the concept may have already produced an intriguing proposal. At-Large Council member Albert “AJ” Turner said it might be time for the city to add an economic development corporation, and he might be right.

Most other towns in the region have an EDC. It is an entity set up by elected municipal officials to, as its name suggests, contribute to the development of the local economy. Unlike a private organization like a chamber of commerce, an EDC has the power to offer various incentives to attract new businesses to the city or help existing ones grow.

“I just wanted to bring the council’s attention to the fact that when it comes to comparing what we offer to what other cities offer,” said Turner, “they are really starting to outdo us on what is about economic development because we’re only offering rebates. They have events, mentors, EDCs and other types of fundraising projects that actually offer more… for the particular businesses they want in the business. region.

Beaumont voters envisioned an EDC in the 1980s, but rejected it. It might not have been good then, but voters might see it differently today. And it’s very democratic that all residents have the ability to decide something like that even though elected council members have the power to make most of the other decisions like this.

The best argument for an EDC is simple: more. Potentially more jobs, more opportunities for local residents and consumers, more businesses that could improve the quality of life and grow the city’s population again.

None of this is guaranteed, of course – nothing in life really is – but an EDC would give Beaumont executives another tool to add more employers and employees. And while the city government is in good financial health, no one would object to it improving.

EDC would be funded by a portion of the city’s 1.5% sales tax. The amount spent on an ESP could be as low as $ 2 million per year or as much as $ 13 million. It all depends on how many employees EDC would have and how aggressive it is in trying to attract businesses to Beaumont by advertising and attending various meetings in other cities.

Whatever money is diverted from the city’s general fund to an EDC, it should be offset by other tax revenue or possibly a cut in city services, although City Manager Kyle Hayes said cuts were few. probable. But again, the city’s finances are in pretty good shape and it should be possible to fund an EDC with little to no tax increase. If EDC increased the city’s tax base as hoped, property tax rates could stay roughly the same.

This could be the reason voters rejected an CRC before, and they still could. But every Beaumont resident should ask themselves a few basic questions: Are you happy with Beaumont’s economy now? Does it concern you that so many of your children and grandchildren are leaving town after graduating from high school or college? Would you like to take a reasonable chance on something like an EDC to make Beaumont bigger and better?

Beaumont has the building blocks for more growth. It is crossed by one of the busiest highways in the country. There is a lot of land available for redevelopment or new construction. Tens of thousands of consumers and workers live in cities and regions.

There have to be more companies out there that want to tap this potential, and an EDC could be the motivator that brings them here. We urge the residents of Beaumont to seriously consider it.

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