For some time, Market Lubbock Inc has talked about providing incentives to a cheese plant in Plainview. It's a way to supplement an already staggering agricultural industry. Now, we're hearing of other dairy deals in Brownfield and Slaton with Market Lubbock Inc.
Members of the Lubbock City Council and the mayor like the idea of regional economic growth, but they're also saying, "Hey, wait a minute, let's be careful with the citizen's tax money."
"I do think we have to be careful when looking at those huge plans. We're going to have to set criteria to make sure Lubbock is taken care of," said Lubbock Mayor Marc McDougal.
Mayor McDougal is in favor of economic development outside Lubbock city limits. So is Mayor Pro-Tem Victor Hernandez. "I'm in favor for trying to help the region within reason," said Hernandez. Reasons Hernandez says needs to be set into policy before Market Lubbock Inc. considers any more future regional industry growth. "That means putting in place a cap and the amount of money we're going to spend in the region," added Hernandez.
"I do think we will have to have discussions on the criteria because we're going to have to know about these projects early on," said the Mayor McDougal.
That is why city council is making a big stink about Market Lubbock Inc. Every year, about two million dollars of your city tax money is allotted to Market Lubbock Inc.'s economic development plan. "After all, it is city tax payer money and we have to make sure it is going to benefit the city," said Mayor McDougal
"Will it benefit Lubbock in this region, period," said Terri Patterson, Director of Workforce Development with Market Lubbock Inc. Patterson says the cheese plant, if it decides to settle in Plainview, will be good for Lubbock. "If you incent this kind of industry and bring it here, this is what it means in other industries it may create 15 more jobs and we have the resources to support dairy operations," said Patterson.
So far, Mayor McDougal, Councilmen Hernandez, Gary Boren and Frank Morrison want to discuss these issues with Market Lubbock Inc at the city's next public meeting.