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Economic Development

Committee Chairs

Chair: Rick Garza  

Vice Chair: Bob Stimson

 

Project

Recommendation #1: Creation of an Economic Development Corporation for Southern Dallas

 

The first and most critical step to revitalize the Southern Sector is the creation and funding of the City of Dallas Economic Development Corporation. (CDEDC) This entity should be given the responsibility to fill the gaps we have identified in our marketing and business promotion programs. Additionally, it should be utilized to make the development process in the Southern Sector faster, easier and less costly. Responsibilities that this entity should assume and be properly funded to accomplish include:


- Administer the City’s public/private partnership funds under guidelines from the city;
- Prepare and implement an ongoing marketing plan for the City of Dallas and specifically the Southern Sector;
- Counter negative perceptions;
- Promote the City as “open for business”;
- Work with businesses and developers as a facilitator to bring jobs and tax base to the City;
- Guide businesses through the development/relocation process;

- Create an ongoing sales team to promote the City;
- Target specific industries for relocations;
- Advocate for additional retail opportunities;
- Invest in catalyst projects that would spur additional investments in needed areas;
- Advise the City on issues of importance as it relates to economic development.

 

Status - Briefed to Committee

 

The Office of Economic Development continues to study the issue. A briefing on the concept of Economic Development Corporations was presented to the Dallas City Council's Economic Development Committee on April 5, 2010. The Committee took no further action at that time. A date for further discussion has not been determined.

 

Recommendation #2: Increased Funding for Public-Private Partnership & Bond Programs

 

Transforming the southern sector economically is not going to be inexpensive!. We have to overcome both an aging or non-existent infrastructure and the realities of our demographic market. It will require that the City of Dallas make a substantially larger investment into the area than it has done historically. For a benchmark, the City need only look at the economic development commitment made by its many neighboring cities that have committed up to ½ -1% sales taxes for such a purpose. In the City of Dallas, this would equate to $121 - $242 million per year.

 

Include in the upcoming bond program substantially increased funding, a minimum of $100 million, that is targeted to both alleviating infrastructure deficiencies and providing a funding source flexible enough to respond to the immediate needs of the marketplace via grants, loans and equity investments. Additionally, the public/private partnership funding from the City’s annual operating budget should be increased.

 

Status - Ongoing

 

The Public-Private Partnership Program is reviewed during the annual budgeting process. Staff is evaluating projects and funding needs to be included in the next bond program, presently expected to occur no earlier than 2011.

 

Recommendation #3: Modify the City's Incentive Packages to Make Southern Dallas More Attractive for New Investment

 

Dallas currently offers incentive packages to developers to encourage them to bring jobs and tax base to the City. But they are wholly inadequate to stimulate growth in areas facing the challenges of the Southern Sector. Dallas’ matrix of incentives needs to be updated to attract more development to our area. To accomplish this, the City should ask the development and business community to review and recommend changes to this policy that would make the Southern Sector the best choice for new investment.

 

Status - In Progress

 

The City's economic development incentives are designed to employ scarce city resources to leverage as much private investment and job opportunities in targeted areas as possible. As part of its incentive processes, the City works with multiple businesses and developers to structure incentives and financing to facilitate new developments and business operations in Southern Dallas. Overall these efforts have resulted in an investment return of approximately $20 of private investment for each $1 of public investment for the Public-Private Partnership Program. Another part of the strategy is to focus these investments into specifically targeted areas to be able to make a visible, and hopefully, game changing impact.

 

Since the funding for the PPP Program is limited, the Office of Economic Development has been challenged to identify new and creative ways to support projects in Southern Dallas. Some of these efforts include making substantial bond program investments, implementing new tax increment financing districts (TIFs), supporting the creation of Municipal Management Districts (MMDs), creating the City of Dallas Regional Center, and to the City's knowledge, becoming the first city government in Texas to receive a New Markets Tax Credit allocation. While the City continues to evolve its programs to further promote development and job creation, the City believes its incentive policies related to Southern Dallas are presently more robust than its competition.

 

In addition to the creative tools described above, City staff has actively undertaken a review of existing PPP Program Guidelines and Criteria since October 2009. Staff has reviewed programs of dozens of other municipalities in the region, state, and nation as a part of this process. Further, staff has discussed program policies with various local and state groups to ensure that the City is competitive relative to incentive programs.

 

The Office of Economic Development briefed the City Council's Economic Development Committee (ECO Committee) on the program and suggest revisions on two occassions since December 2009 - February 1, 2010 and May 3, 2010. The existing program, originally due for readoption by City Council in April 2010, was extended until June 30, 2010 to allow for additional consideration of potential program amendments by the ECO Commitee.

 

Recommendation #4: Implement Urban Design Studies and New Zoning for Major Commercial Corridors

 

The major commercial corridors of Southern Dallas were designed and zoned to make it easy for commuters to get in and out of the city. Most of them need to be rezoned to allow for the development of projects that will enhance the values, jobs and services available to the surrounding communities. Special attention should be given to identify opportunities to create more dense urban living developments that include both residential and commercial space complementary to the existing neighborhoods. To do so, urban design professionals should be utilized to seek the input of the residential communities surrounding key commercial corridors along with the business/development communities, to prepare a plan for that corridor, and to implement a rezoning of the area in a manner that will help attract investment.

 

Status - Pending

 

The Task Force is awaiting a response from the Department of Sustainable Development and Construction regarding this recommendation.

 

Recommendation #5: Modify the Permitting Process to be More User Friendly for Small- & Medium-Sized Businesses

 

For many small and medium-sized business owners, dealing with City Hall is an intimidating experience. We need to modify the permitting process to make it more user-friendly and eliminate the perception that it is a somehow “political” process. We need to implement an expeditor or facilitator system that guides the business owner through the process and provides advice and assistance.


The process also desperately needs to be streamlined—permits that take minimal time to obtain in surrounding cities can take much longer to work their way through the process in Dallas. Many small and medium-sized business owners, who constitute the majority in the Southern Sector, lack the time and resources to deal with such prolonged delays. Instead of building or expanding businesses, they simply give up, or look for other places to complete their projects, creating further loss of jobs and opportunities.

 

Status - Pending

 

The Task Force is awaiting a response from the Department of Sustainable Development and Construction regarding this recommendation.

 

Recommendation #6: Modify the Tree Ordinance to Both Encourage Sustainable Development and Tree Protection

 

Dallas’ current tree ordinance is the worst of both worlds. It forces developers to go through a time consuming process to obtain exemptions to be able to remove trees, which discourages development. Then, because the exemptions have to be granted if we are to have any development at all, we lose the trees anyway. Finally, to create a lose/lose/lose situation, many developers, knowing how many hoops they have to jump through to complete a project, look elsewhere.


Developing a tree ordinance that is economically and ecologically sustainable will spur development in the Southern Sector, which has large areas of raw land available but is prohibitively expensive to build on under our current tree policy.

 

Status - Under Review

 

The Department of Parks & Recreation, in conjunction with the Urban Forest Advisory Committee and the city's Chief Arborist, is conducting a review of the tree ordinance and recommending proposed changes.

 

Recommendation #7: Facilitate the Creation of Business Associations to Address Local Concerns

 

Most businesses in the Southern Sector are small, individually owned and operate in single buildings or small strip centers. Their vision often ends at the front door of their own establishment, and while they worry about issues like crime, graffiti, unkempt common areas, code issues and other concerns, they feel powerless to address them due to limited resources. This contrasts strongly with stores in other parts of the city, who usually have a single large landlord who handles these issues for them. The EDC recommends creating a series of business associations that act as a unit to address marketing, maintenance, security and advocacy issues for the area, enabling blocs of independent business owners to be more competitive

 

Status - In Progress

 

The Office of Economic Development supports the creation of businsess associations in the city, believing the effort should be predominately guided by chambers and businesses themselves. The City can work with the lead local entities to help facilitate a discussion related to the creation of proposed associations.

 

Read more about the Economic Development Team's proposed project in the Interim Team Report.

 

 

Meeting Minutes

(15.3 KB) January 13, 2009

(20.6 KB)

January 27, 2009

(9.59 KB) March 10, 2009

(12 KB)

April 14, 2009