The issue of whether sales tax dollars will be allocated to the creation of an Economic Development Corporation, or EDC, was settled in Saturday’s election. The vote was decisive in favor of Proposition 1 with 576 voting for the measure and 172 voting against.
"That's great news," Willy De Jong, president of STEDCO, said Saturday after learning the proposition had passed. "Stephenville has made a decision that will help the city and county in the future, and that will show that we are serious about keeping the amazing diversity of businesses we have as we attract new businesses to the city and county."
For those not familiar with EDCs or the effects of the passage of Proposition 1 on their lives, here are a few facts:
An EDC is a sales-tax funded non-profit corporation that exists to promote a positive business environment in a city and serves to retain and support current businesses and attract new ones. Most Texas cities and towns, large and small, have such an EDC.
The measure had the strong support of the Stephenville Economic Development Foundation, Inc. [STEDCO], the Chamber of Commerce, Ranger College, Erath County Builders Association, Tarleton and other community leaders including banks, manufacturing, and health care.
There will be no change in any of the tax rates as a result of Prop 1. The measure would simply designate current tax dollars to be spent specifically on economic development.
Prop 1 focuses on only 3.5% of the City Budget, which can still be spent for critical city functions.
A seven-member board of the EDC will be appointed by the City Council and propose projects to them for ultimate approval. The EDC board has no power to directly spend city money.