The structure evolved when the Midland Chamber of Commerce was selected in the fall of 2002 to facilitate the MDC's economic development activity. With a staff of up to 6 people, the MDC became an organization that was able to not only recruit from Midland, as had been done initially, but one that traveled to trade shows, worked with firms to facilitate meetings and continued working with local businesses on retention and expansion, among other things, Rendall said.
The MDC no longer is under the chamber; it became its own entity a few years ago. Henson, who was chairman at that time, said there was concern the MDC spent too much on administration under the chamber, so a split was agreed to. The MDC board manages the MDC.
"The council was starting to question the return on investment with that structure," Rendall said of the chamber.
At its height in fiscal year 2008, administrative costs for the MDC reached just more than $782,000 -- which put the line item at not significantly less than the $849,662 that was paid out in incentives during that year.
Administrative costs include salaries, benefits, rent for offices, utilities, phones and other expenses needed to operate day-to-day, McNaughton said.
Costs dropped after 2008, with $680,385 being spent in fiscal year 2009 and just more than $700,000 in fiscal year 2010. For the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the MDC expects to come in well under budget for administration, having lost two positions after a resignation and the assumption of the half-time position by the Downtown Midland Management District.
Mike Hatley, MDC president, said in the last four years they've become more efficient in operations both in-house and in partnering with others in the region during trade shows and outreach initiatives to increase the exposure of West Texas.
Rendall said he understands concern that the organization could spend too much on staff and activities. But the staff of four in place now is constantly busy and having that staff to lay the groundwork for future successes is needed, he said.
"The thought when it was passed by voters was to smooth out some of those ups and downs. We've probably not been as successful in that as (the voters expected), but it's been beneficial to have it," Rendall said. "I still think we've got the groundwork laid."
Each board president or chairman points to a few different contracts as points of success during the 10 years since the MDC was established.
Accutel, now Semperian, was the first, and in Billingsley's mind it was one of the most successful deals. The company increased its job creation and investment commitment after the first deal was signed and brought nearly 500 jobs to Midland. Not all of those stayed in place after the contract had ended. But board members said it still represents jobs that were here and people who purchased items and paid taxes.
An incentive agreement with Submersible Oil Pumping Services signed in 2003 still is one of the winners to James. The city councilman said the local company needed assistance to grow and was able to take the incentive provided and expand beyond what they had promised. The company agreed to create 13 new positions at a payroll of more than $580,000. In 2004, it had added 24 new jobs with a payroll of $1.2 million.
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