For Immediate Release
Contact: Melanie Appelt, Administrator
Columbus Community Industrial Development Corporation
Phone: 979/732-8282
FAX:  979/732-5813
August 2006
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Columbus Community Industrial Development Corporation Unveils Strategic Plan
COLUMBUS, TX – After considerable research, meetings and discussions, the Columbus Community Industrial Development Corporation (CCIDC) is ready to unveil a strategic plan for ensuring a prosperous economic future for the community and its residents.

By leveraging the City’s existing strengths and taking advantage of key opportunities, the CCIDC aims to create a vital, diverse economy that includes retail, restaurants, other commercial establishments, and industry. “Growth is coming,” states Board President Chuck Rankin.  “Our job is to shape the direction of the change that is taking place and make sure that it provides the best economic benefit possible to the community.”

Funded with revenue generated by the 4B sales tax, the CCIDC is tasked by the City of Columbus to maintain, manage and recruit businesses into Texas Crossroads Business Park and lead the City’s business retention, expansion, and attraction efforts.

Historically, the 4B sales tax has been used to recruit employers that will create a large number of jobs, however, in 2005, HB 2928 gave rural communities the flexibility to use 4B sales tax funds to also attract and support retail development.  “We are very excited about the possibility that CCIDC can now help in recruiting and retaining a broad range of businesses,” says CCIDC Administrator Tonya Britton.

As the cornerstone of its new strategic plan, the CCIDC has adopted a mission statement, which is: “To promote, encourage and enhance the creation of jobs and expansion of the local tax base through projects which assist in the retention and expansion of primary employers, including industrial, service and commercial enterprises and which attract new employers and aid in their development and growth.”

Goals adopted by the Board are to increase the number of jobs available for citizens, to expand the tax base and to strengthen and diversify the industrial, commercial and service sectors of the local economy.“

“Our next task is to develop and implement specific action steps for 2007.  We are interested in getting as much input as possible from business and community organizations as we move through this process,” says Rankin.  “Our decision-making will be guided by our mission, budget, feedback from the community, laws regulating the use of the 4B sales tax, and the city’s strategic position as a site for economic and industrial development.”

Although the population for the city of Columbus has remained stable, the area surrounding the city is experiencing unprecedented growth, land prices are rising in value and commercial interest in the area is increasing.  Texas is at the forefront of emerging markets and industries and Columbus is well positioned to take advantage of the economic development opportunities that are flowing into the state. The city’s strengths include its location along major transportation routes, low taxes, a viable business park, a respected healthcare system, and easy access to three community college campuses, all located within 35 miles of the city.  The infrastructure improvements currently being implemented by city management, and which are partially funded by CCIDC, have also caught the attention of several business prospects interested in locating here.

"The city of Columbus is poised for sustainable growth.  Our future looks bright.  I am confident prospective industries will notice the economic future that our community and its residents have to offer,” says City of Columbus Mayor Richard Heffley.

The CCIDC manages an annual budget of roughly $300,000, with a fiscal year that runs from October 1 to September 30.  The budget review process for fiscal year 2007 begins in early August and the board is seeking input from local residents.    “I would encourage citizens to attend our board meetings to learn how CCIDC can assist business owners with expansion or relocation into the city, as well as provide us with ideas about projects that will encourage commercial and industrial development in Columbus,” says Board President Chuck Rankin.

Meetings are held the third Monday of each month at 6:30pm at City Hall in Columbus.  Citizen’s comments are included as an agenda item, however, specific items may be added to the agenda for discussion upon request.

The CCIDC Board is appointed by the Columbus City Council and includes the following members: Brian Berger, Jerry Haluska, Larry Hoelscher, Rene Lerma, Diane Matus, Lisa McNutt, Chuck Rankin.   The organization also maintains a contract for administrative and marketing services with the Columbus Convention and Visitors Bureau.

“I am quite proud of our CCIDC Board and feel they will successfully achieve the goals that our city council & myself have entrusted in them,” says City of Columbus Mayor Richard Heffley.

To request an item be placed on the agenda or for a copy of the detailed action plan for 2007 contact Tonya Britton at the Visitors Center at 425 Spring Street on the 1st floor of the Stafford Opera House or call 979-732-8385.
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