AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Amarillo Economic Development Corporation is receiving $3,503,340 for the 2023-24 fiscal year approved by the Amarillo city council.
AEDC saw a decrease in funding of $717,000. AEDC President and CEO Kevin Carter presented a breakdown of funding during Tuesday’s city council meeting. During the meeting, the council approved the budget for the city.
According to Carter, the WT Enterprize challenge received $380,000. A $200,000 decrease that came at the request of the council.
Mayor Cole Stanley said the decrease in funding for AEDC and the WT Enterprize Challenge came after discussion in their budget workshops over the course of several months.
“One of the items that came up in that AEDC budget workshop was the previous years that WT enterprise challenge hadn’t been able to distribute all of the money,” said Stanley. “So based upon that, there was a decision by the council to reduce the money for this one year, which was reduced by $200,000. So, we’ll have less to hand out this year, which I think makes it a little bit more appealing for those companies in those small business startups that are going after those funds to put their best foot forward for those grants.”
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Councilmember Les Simpson made a motion to add the $200,000 back to the WT Enterprize Challenge fund. However, it was not seconded, and the budget will remain unchanged.
“We all had a budget workshop where we discussed it, everybody agreed, hey, we are looking for dollars, and of course, that $200,000 stays within the EDC,” said Stanley. “So, it doesn’t come over to the general fund or any other city department. But based on that, I believe that the time duration from that workshop meeting to this budget approval, Councilman Simpson decided that he would rather see that 200,000 added back into the budget.”
Stanley continued, “What you saw was a good, healthy discussion of him making a motion amendment where he wanted to add that 200 back in. Unfortunately, nobody seconded that, so we didn’t get to vote on it. But what you saw was a four-one vote, and a good debate, and a good discussion of how a healthy council works.”
Carter shared that he’s grateful for the council’s support and looks forward to the 27th year of the Enterprize challenge.
“The AEDC is excited that the council approved $380,000 for funding for the enterprise challenge,” said Carter. “As we move forward, this will be the 27th year of the Enterprize challenge, and we’re excited about the applicants that will be applying and I know that we will have some worthy recipients when the winners are announced after the first of the year.”
During the presentation, Carter also discussed how Enterprize Challenge applicants have stricter requirements.
According to Carter, businesses were once allowed to be startups and now must have a certain amount of revenue to apply for the challenge. As well as have a business model that fits with the statute of law that requires 51 percent of produced goods to serve the five-county Metropolitical Statistical Area.
Stanley shared he believes the funding changes will have the same positive impact.
“I think overall, it’ll still have the same positive impact that we need to see in our small business and our entrepreneurial programs,” said Stanley. “So, if there’s less money out there for people to go and get, I think they’ll compete harder to get it. Then those that are awarded that money, I think we’ll see even more, I’d say, return out of those businesses on that funding.”