The Longview Economic Development Corp. has proposed a 2019-20 budget that projects nearly $600,000 in added revenue that provides for growth, President/CEO Wayne Mansfield said.
The spending plan, which projects a 10.8% revenue increase, has been approved by LEDCO’s board of directors and will be considered by the Longview City Council for final approval Sept. 12.
“This is projected to be a very strong year for us,” Mansfield said.
LEDCO is working at least 11 new economic development prospects that could potentially provide as many as 1,600 new jobs and $300 million in capital investment into the area, he said. Six of the 11 prospects are foreign-direct investment opportunities, including three German aviation projects.
“Longview’s name is getting out there,” he said.
All but $150,000 of the predicted $6.148 million in revenue next year is expected from sales tax rebates, according to the budget plan. Also, the $150,000 in interest from LEDCO’s money market accounts represents a 76% increase from this year.
Among expenses, LEDCO expects programs and projects to increase from $731,550 this year to $747,900 next year. Programs and projects are the costs for attracting retail or industry development as well as talent development such as the ACT WorkKeys assessment program for job seekers.
General and administrative spending also is going up, from $910,588 to $985,400, mostly to account for personnel and benefits, as health insurance costs will increase almost 30%, Mansfield said. Also, LEDCO employees minus Mansfield will receive a 5% pay raise.
“My salary was not included in that,” he said. “That was strictly for the staff.”
Debt service payments will decrease less than 1% to $1.09 million, while capital expenses are remaining flat.
The rest of the budget is set aside for capital projects, such as $2.52 million to complete phases 2 and 3 of the Guthrie Creek Shared Use Path, another $1.335 million in bond funds on the trail and $255,519 to install a traffic light on George Richey Road into the new Dollar General distribution center.
LEDCO committed $6.66 million to the full Guthrie Creek Trail and Shared Use Path project, Mansfield said. It has spent to date $2.8 million, leaving a balance of $3.85 million.
Another $2 million is set aside for the possibility of a new LEDCO headquarters. Mansfield said that item should be viewed mostly as savings because the money won’t be spent unless and until LEDCO directors vote to move forward on the project.
“We don’t know what the cost estimates would be, but I’ve got an idea that’s what a good solid number would be,” he said.
The 2019-20 budget calls for $8.724 million in estimated cash reserves and $11.588 million in general fund cash for LEDCO.