Economic development corporations were established by the state legislature in 1979. There are two types of EDCs (4A and 4B) and they can do different kinds of projects. We are a 4B which has much more flexibility that 4A.
Dublin voters approved the ½ cent sales tax for economic development 14 years ago. We receive our income from the state two months after those funds are collected which means, for example, that what income was derived in sales tax in June will not be received until August.
The Dublin EDC is governed by a seven-member volunteer board whose appointment is approved by the city council, as is the budget. Our current board members are president James Fritts , Monte Thiebaud, Dr. Harlan Raley, Willard Mann, Tommy Sperry, Troy Ashcraft and Lisa Leatherwood.
The daily operations of the Dublin EDC are overseen by an executive director, the EDC’s only paid employee. Karen Wright was named to that position in 2010 after having served on the board for eight years.
We meet at 6 p.m. on the fourth Monday of each month in the EDC office at 111 S. Patrick.
We operate under the same legal guidelines as city government. We must post an agenda, and our meetings are open to the public except for executive sessions which are governed by the state’s Open Meetings laws. Our board members undergo the same Open Meetings and Public Information training that council members do.
HOW IS THE EDC FUNDED?
EDCs are funded through sales tax which we reinvest in the community. We also have a successful investment program (six certificates of deposits) which enhances our bottom line.
We receive anywhere from $6,000 to $12,000 a month from sales tax and it is greatly influenced by events and weather.
WHAT DO WE DO
Initially, the purpose of EDCs was to create jobs. That has shifted away from job creation to some extent in the past few years because of the economic chaos in this country. Until recently not many jobs were being created so EDCs focused on creating a lifestyle that would make Dublin a desirable place to live, work and play. We have focused on the community’s appearance and helped to enhance its tourism components.
We have also assisted the city directly with various projects such as funding new heaters for the park building, assisting with the sewer demands of a new fast food restaurant, and funding rolloffs for the Reclaim Dublin effort. We have also helped fund improvements to city park facilities which are used by non-profit organizations such as the baseball association and riding clubs.
Tourism is recognized as a viable component of economic vitality so we have assisted owners of historic homes maintain the facades of their homes. We helped fund the yard signs and brochures for PROUD. We have helped fund renovation work on the Historical Society’s Little Church on Grafton Street and the signage of the new Ben Hogan Museum. We have helped fund marketing efforts of Cowboy Culture and other community events. Along with business and service sponsors, the EDC sponsors the Dublin website through Texans United. That marketing effort focuses not only on promoting Dublin but also regional tourism.
We also support the chamber of commerce’s Dublin Dollars campaign by making the dollars available in registration packets for local events which puts money in the hands of local merchants — in effect, accomplishing our major goal which is to reinvest sales tax dollars back into the community.
James Fritts has served on the board since it was formed and has been president several terms. He is Dublin fire chief and owner of five area Dairy Queens.
Monte Thiebaud is president of Dublin National Bank and serves on the board of the Dublin Housing Authority.
Dr. Harlan Raley is a longtime Dublin dentist who has served on several community boards including the airport board because of his love of flying.
Troy Ashcraft came to Dublin from the metroplex where he was involved in the construction industry.
Lisa Leatherwood, former school teacher, is co-owner of Three Sisters, an eclectic gift shop in downtown Dublin.
Willard Mann is a community activist who has been involved in numerous local organizations. He is a retired business owner who came to Dublin from West Texas.
Tommy Sperry, a member of the Dublin City Council, represents the City of Dublin on the EDC board.
The Dublin EDC is truly making a difference in Dublin!