Economic Development for Alice and JWC

Robin Bradshaw
rbradshaw1@gatehousemedia.com
Larry Martinez the Executive Director for Economic Development expressed insights on the future of Jim Wells County and Alice.

Larry Martinez the Executive Director for Economic Development expressed his insights on the future of Jim Wells County and Alice.

During this time of economic uncertainly, Martinez's role as the Director for economic development in layman’s terms is a big deal.

"Time is of the essence," Martinez said. "We as a city and county need to be very strategic on how we use the current funds available and create new opportunities to position this area for future success.“

Martinez stresses the word strategic when discussing the economic future and with a year into his position he has been working on education, tax abatement packages for new business and an overall new marketing proposal that focuses on Alice's location, location, location as the HUB city.

Education: Martinez along city and county leaders are seeking the advancement for Del Mar Coastal Bend College to consider Jim Wells County for a new campus. The added education platform will accommodate the current job market along with the Texas Workforce and have training for high school students to excel and find higher paying jobs.

"This is an oil town and we as a community feel the ups and downs the industry provides- and I would like to help change that and see more diversity," said Martinez. “Currently, healthcare is the major economic job source for our area, providing over 4,000 jobs -it makes more sense to have college training that supports our local industry in other areas than just oil."

Tax Abatement Incentives: In order to attract new business a tax abatement agreement has been developed that gives new business owners with over 20 employees a percentage break on property taxes for an established amount of time. Martinez also stated Governor Greg Abbott's Office has included state funding programs that support rural Texas economic development and is currently working on that avenue as well for new potential business negotiations and future growth.

"The truth is Jim Wells County is an enticing place for new business with lots of land, cheaper taxes and the big selling factor is the close proximity to Mexico, the Rio Grande Valley, Corpus Christi and San Antonio. I think during this unique time we as a community need to come together, work together and stay positive,” said Martinez. “I am currently working on negotiations for a few new businesses’ for the area to provide more jobs and I will continue to be strategic in my thinking for local economic development and the better benefits and opportunities that it includes for area families. "