The Commerce Journal

November 21, 2013

Council helps local projects move forward

By Caleb Slinkard
The Commerce Journal

COMMERCE — The Commerce City Council paved the way for local businesses and industries begin projects while tabling a change order to a construction company that would cost the city tens of thousands of dollars. The council approved the Freeport Tax exemption, a tax exemption for goods that are shipped to or acquired in Texas and then shipped out in 175 days.

The council tabled a motion to authorize a final payment of approximately $32,000 to DDM Construction regarding extra work done of the Harlow Road drainage project. The extra work was not authorized ahead of time by the city.

The Freeport Exemption, which makes eligible goods tax free, was passed. Three out of four major local industries have agree to continue paying taxes on these items for the next two years, as a way to offset the revenue the city is set to lose. According to Commerce Economic Development Corporation Executive Director Bonnie Hunter, the exemption will help Commerce attract more industries with the intention of bringing in more tax revenue than is lost with the exemption. The Commerce ISD approved a similar resolution.

Hunter said the Freeport Exemption cannot be repealed once it is passed, and that the move will allow Commerce to be more competitive with surrounding cities when attracting industries.

Chicken Express will be moving across Highway 24/50 and building a new facility with a drive-thru window. The property, which is north of McDonalds, will feature access via a service road. The council approved a conditional use permit for the drive-thru window.

Property acquired by a concrete company was rezoned industrial to allow the business to move forward with their project. Hope Concrete will open a concrete batch facility near the intersection of Highway 11 and Highway 24. Much of the property, according to Commerce Director of Community Development Steve Wilson, is unusable to many industries due to being located on a floodplain.

The council approved the second reading the annexation of almost 160 acres into the corporate limits of Commerce, including Hydro Aluminum and the industrial park.

The council heard a proposal from Derek Price of the Commerce Main Street Committee to schedule a work session in January to discuss revitalizing downtown. Price specified three things the committee would like to see discussed in January: the city allocating a staff member to be responsible for redeveloping downtown, code enforcement and communication between the major stakeholders in Commerce.

“The Big Six meetings have been a great step in that direction, and we think all the Big Six meetings should have a standing, regular agenda item dedicated to revitalizing downtown,” he said. The item was placed on the December City Council agenda.

An ordinance adopting the 2012 international building, fire, plumbing, fuel gas, mechanical, energy conservation, existing building, residential and property maintenance codes with the North Central Texas Council of Governments Amendments passed on its second reading, as did an ordinance adopting the 2011 National Electrical code with NCTCOG amendments.