Economic Development Corporation Battle in Big Spring

Nick Lawton
NewsWest 9

BIG SPRING - In order to broaden the City of Big Spring's economic horizons, the Big Spring City Council is considering changing the city's Economic Development Corporation from a 4A organization to a 4B organization.

If it's changed to a 4B, then the EDC's money can not only go to bringing in new businesses and making old ones stay, it could be used for other projects and that has the EDC angry, saying their money will now be gone and going toward any project the council wants.

Emotions flared in front of a standing-room only crowd at the Big Spring City Council Chambers on Tuesday as the EDC fought to keep its status.

They believed a change to 4B would give the council power to get more of their money and more control over their actions.

They claimed this is a violation of the agreement they made with the city back in May in which 40 percent of their revenue would go toward the city's water treatment plant over the next 20 years.

But Big Spring Mayor Tommy Duncan sees this as a way to open up the EDC even more and that they'd still be able to bring in businesses but now also do quality of life and affordable housing projects in the city.

Duncan also argued that any decision a 4B corporation makes would be voted in by the people.

A separate amendment to the switch was also discussed to help put people's fears at rest: an amendment that states that no council members would be allowed to sit on the EDC board should the switch go through.

"We will have the opportunity to pull this whole motion off the table on the second reading and for you to address those concerns," Duncan said.

The first reading of the Corporation switch was approved and will now go onto a second reading and possibly a vote by the residents coming up in November.

When the next item on the agenda was the consideration of the removal and replacement of EDC board members, that item died without a motion.