Economic Development Corporation Worried About Using Budget To Fix Water Plants

By Anayeli Ruiz
NewsWest 9
BIG SPRING - The City of Big Spring is trying to fix their dirty water problems. Just last year, the city received several citations from the state for not being in compliance. The city has come up with a solution to fix the water treatment plant but it will cost them $11 million.
The City has come up with three different options of how to pay for the water treatment plants. They could raise the city's property tax rates, they increase water rates or they could use part of the Economic Development Corporation's Budget. The Economic Development Corporation is concerned because this could hurt all businesses in town.

"My board is concerned that the amount of money that the council has proposed would be detrimental to some of our efforts to recruit business and help existing business grow here," Terry Wegman, the Director of the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation, said.

Wegman says that using their money to fix the City's water problems could really hurt the city in attracting new businesses.  

"When they are researching and looking for places to site their businesses they are very aware that there are incentives out there. We don't want to put Big Spring at a disadvantage when competing with other communities in the area," Wegman said.

About 90 percent of their budget goes to bringing new businesses into town. Depending on how the bond works, it could take a huge chunk out of their budget meant for new businesses.

"It could impact 60 percent or more of our dollars that we have set aside for the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation," Wegman said.

Another reason why they are so worried is because they would have to share their budget for many years down the road to pay for new water plants.

"The thing that has concerned my board is the long term nature of something like this. A bond of this nature could last as much as 20 years. The long term effects could be substantial in Big Spring's efforts to attract and retain good businesses," Wegman said.

In the meantime, all the board can do is wait and hope that the city doesn't tap in to their budget so they can keep creating new jobs in Big Spring.

"Depending on the industry, sometimes it can be for every 10 jobs you create in that business another three are added to the community and sometimes even greater than that," Wegman said.

Everything is still undecided. Officials expect to talk more about the issue at the next City Council meeting. Ultimately, the issue could be put up to a vote in May. 

Last year, the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation helped 10 new or existing businesses in town.