With characteristic frankness, Killeen Mayor Dan Corbin threatened to pull funding from the Killeen Economic Development Corporation if it doesn’t meet the needs of the City Council.
During fiscal year 2013 budget talks Corbin requested that KEDC focus a portion of its efforts to attract recreation and entertainment businesses to the city to serve the needs of young soldiers stationed at nearby Fort Hood.
At Tuesday’s budget workshop, KEDC secretary John Crutchfield said that recruiting entertainment businesses to the city was not a priority for the KEDC.
“It is not a priority at this point,” Crutchfield said. “But that’s not to say that we wouldn’t address it if we identified it.”
KEDC and the Greater Killeen Chamber of Commerce receive around $1.5 million from the city of Killeen each year.
The agencies, which function as a single entity, have requested $1,585,625 from the city of Killeen for fiscal year 2014, which is $26,000 less than it requested last year, Crutchfield said.
Corbin suggested mailing letters to entertainment companies, such as Dave & Busters, with information about possible locations and other incentives for moving to Killeen.
“I don’t know if it is being done, but it needs to be done so that young people have something to do,” Corbin said.
Crutchfield said the agency could only address the priorities set by the nine-member KEDC board for the agency because of limited time and resources.
He also suggested that the three council members currently serving on the board could affect how KEDC sets its priorities.
Corbin, Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Blackstone and Councilman Terry Clark are all voting members of the board, according to the KEDC website.
“What you’re saying is, hopefully, three board members can convince two of the other six that that’s what you need to do,” Corbin said.
“We have other options and that’s not to give you all the money — to keep it and do it ourselves.”
Not all of council members agreed with Corbin’s plan, including Councilman Jose Segarra, who said that he had traveled with KEDC to promote Killeen as a business location.
“They go out of state to look for businesses,” Segarra said.
“That is a lot of man hours and it does take a lot of resources.”