Coming to a crossroads of Senate Bill 4, Rule 3.34, and the economic hit from COVID-19, the Coppell City Council strategized new possible approaches to economic development in their work session on Tuesday.
As the economy, Coppell’s population and land use has changed, the council and City Manager Mike Land explored the possibility of more frequent updates on latest trends of what businesses look for and how it fits into Coppell’s changed city.
Land addressed the question of if the city’s economic development team should be proactive or reactive. One point thrown into question – to what degree is the city all in when negotiating business deals? Land stated that Coppell lacks some of the amenities, capital and land resources that its competing cities have to negotiate good deals with incoming businesses.
“We’re different than 20 years ago,” Councilman Gary Roden said. “We had more land than anybody, we were a growing city, and while there’s still a ton going for this city, what’s happened is other cities have amenities that we don’t compete well with, like Cypress Waters. We can’t tell businesses that they’re going to be next to a lake surrounded by a bunch of restaurants. We have Old Town, but we don’t have offices within walking distance of Old Town. I think council needs to go all in on deals that they can go all in on, but I think that there are just some deals that we can’t be competitive on because of the maturity of our city.”
Land addressed that recent economic changes and a new cap on sales tax have made Coppell’s previous incentives like tax abatement not as attractive to incoming businesses and suggested that the council shift how it approaches negotiations so it can better compete with nearby cities.
While the council was previously notified of negotiations that followed through, Councilwoman Nancy Yingling said it seemed like is was the first time that the council as a group was notified of the impact that Coppell’s lack of resources had on attracting business.
Yingling, with the agreement of other council members, suggested that more open communication would allow for more feedback from council to conduct transactions more effectively.
Economic Development Coordinator Mindi Hurley discussed with the council that it would also be helpful as a staff member to better understand council’s emphasis on both development and redevelopment.
The council will explore the possibility of putting together a task force to work on the city’s economic development.