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The Connection Between Property Tax and School Finance

By Jessica Attas

As published by the Waco Tribune-Herald.

 

2017-09-19_1543Few are the people who take delight in paying property taxes. Yet when we understand where our dollars go and have confidence they are being spent wisely on services and infrastructure of benefit to us all, the sting is lessened and, in fact, we may appreciate the quality of life and services they provide.

 

Nevertheless, when the growth of our tax burden outpaces the growth in our income, it can cause a strain that is more intimately felt. The same is true in the commercial sector. Businesses may be reluctant to make new hires (i.e., create jobs) or otherwise expand their business (which oftentimes includes a capital investment that boosts our tax rolls) if they face uncertainty on how their property taxes may increase from one year to the next.

 

In that vein, property-tax reform has been a battle cry of the last regular and special state legislative sessions. At the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce, we stand with our members and businesses in calling for policy solutions that will offer true and meaningful property-tax relief and reform. Businesses experiencing a 200 percent increase in land valuations will not support the sustainable growth and development so many in our community have worked so long and so intentionally to foster. To discuss what those meaningful solutions could be — and what they are not — it may be helpful to widen the scope and provide a bit of context.

 

Our property-tax bill comes from the taxing entities in our jurisdiction: city, county, school districts and community colleges. Each entity determines its tax rate and may tax up to a maximum rate determined by the state government. If they want to increase over 8 percent from one year to the next, they must take this proposition to the voters for approval (this is called the roll-back rate).

 

Many taxing entities strive to lower their rates when possible. Our local county leadership has successfully done so the last two budget cycles. With that in mind, let’s consider the other piece of the property-tax system, which is the appraisal valuation.

 

Unlike the tax rate, which is set locally, the appraisal valuation is not fully within the local appraisal district’s control. State of Texas Government Code Section 403.302 requires the State Comptroller’s office (the Property Tax Assistance Division) to conduct a Property Value Study (PVS) to determine the total taxable value of all property in each school district every two years. For each study, the state selects a sample and determines what they feel are fair market values for each property.

 

For this year for Waco Independent School District, state officials looked at 400 of 26,000 properties, determined what they felt were their values and used those to set the range in which other properties in the district should fall. Interestingly, many of the properties selected were prime properties in areas of town experiencing increased development interest, such as within the Tax Increment Financing Zone, or two at Barron’s Crossing. We should remember those properties are not truly representative of all properties within WISD.

 

The state comptroller study is then used to determine appraisal district performance, with the performance metric being that the appraisal district must come within a range of 5 percent below/above the total value set by the state. Let that sink in a moment.

 

Let’s turn to another aspect. This might seem a change of topic, but read on to fully consider. On the floor of the Texas House of Representatives during the special session, a legislator asked Rep. Dan Huberty, chairman of the Public Education Committee who had proposed legislation (HB 21) to boost education funding to the tune of some $1.8 billion, if in fact the state weren’t spending more on education today than ever. While technically true, this does not recognize that the number of students we have in the system is growing at a rate that far outpaces student spending. The net effect is that the per-pupil amount of state funding is less every year, with current spending levels below pre-recession levels of 2008, before even taking into account inflation. Adjusted for inflation, in 2015 dollars, Texas was spending $10,260 per student in 2009-2010. Today we spend just $8,935.

 

Further, our demographic trends in Texas are such that our percentage of English language learners — a group more costly to prepare for success in our educational system and for post-secondary success in our workforce — is growing more rapidly than other student groups. So the need is greater now than ever, but the state dollars are slipping away from education. Texas, in fact, ranks 43rd in the nation in per-pupil spending (up from 49th in 2012). Our student outcomes reflect that. According to the U.S. Department of Education, Texas ranks 40th in percentage of fourth graders reading at grade-level (46th in the nation for Hispanic students alone) and 41st in the nation in post-secondary matriculation. While 46 percent of young adults ages 25-34 in the nation hold a certificate, associate’s degree or higher, in Texas just 38 percent of adults in that same age range do. For the Texas economy to remain competitive and grow, it is imperative we develop our talent and workforce to support the very businesses that will drive our economic growth.

 

Declining state funding

 

Historically, state support of education spending (per-pupil spending) was an even split, 45-45, between the state and local school districts (via those property taxes discussed above) with the remaining 10 percent coming from federal dollars. Over the last decade, the state’s share of per-pupil funding has been gradually declining, from about 45 percent for the last couple of decades, to around 36 percent in the upcoming budgetary biennium from the state. The balance, of course, must be made up by increased local share, which means increased local property taxes.

 

I’ve burned the midnight oil looking over budgets of years past, digging through Legislative Budget Board reports, and running numbers and scenarios, but in the interest of brevity, and for some wonderful real-life projections of impact, I simply would refer you to the excellent Texas Tribune article by Ross Ramsey, “Analysis: The state’s declining support for public education in Texas” (December 2016). One standout fact from that read is this: Had state support of education remained at 44.9 percent over the last decade, the state would have spent $18.6 billion more and school district taxpayers would have spent $11.6 billion less. But as the state reduces its share, local districts must fill the gap — and the way to do that is by raising property taxes. Further, as our state experiences economic growth, property values may experience market-driven increases as well. The state has used these as an excuse to decrease its own education spending.

 

The crux is this: State aid in education declines — is able to decline — as local property values rise. And values are within a range set at state level, though not necessarily market-driven. This is codified statutorily for the Comptroller’s Office and again in the state’s budget (SB 1) crafted by state legislators and passed by the legislative conference committee. It’s an exhaustive 900-plus-page document and, in Article III of the 85th legislative session’s SB 1, relating to the Texas Education Agency, page 5, subsection 3 tells us clearly: Property values, and the estimates of local tax collections on which they are based, shall be increased by 7.04 percent for tax year 2017 and by 6.77 percent for tax year 2018.

 

We know it is inevitable that property values will continue to rise because the state is mandating it and has given that directive in the state budget. State officials have set the values to which our appraisal district must adhere.

 

When we consider all these components, it is curious then for the Texas Legislature to consider lowering the property-tax rollback rate from 8 percent to 4 percent or even 6 percent as the best solution for property-tax reform. The problem, as we can see, is not the rate but the rising values. And that range of values is artificially created and imposed by the state. Again, our appraisal district must adhere.

 

If we want meaningful property-tax relief — which we as the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce do — we must address the real problem, which is the broken way we fund our public schools, and stop shifting the cost from the state down to the locals. This is a shift we have seen already: cities being expected to maintain state/federal rights-of-way along our interstates and highways but not given funding to do so; counties being required to provide mental-health services for inmates (a worthy investment, though also one that perhaps should fall more squarely under the state mental-health umbrella) but not given money to provide them; and schools being mandated to give teacher raises or implement more rigorous high-quality early-childhood education programs but not given money to do so. The state is shifting more responsibility to local entities but not providing the funding, which means no choice remains but for local property-tax bills to increase.

 

Further, the state proposes to limit the amount local entities can raise to meet such responsibilities, all while setting the valuation ranges — a fact many voters don’t know — so that local appraisal districts bear the brunt of citizen outcry when property taxes rise when, in fact, the state has directed it to be so.

 

We applaud the work of the Texas House of Representatives, Speaker Joe Straus, Chairman Huberty, his Public Education Committee and its outstanding staff, who worked to craft some meaningful solutions to the property tax-school finance dilemma. We are grateful our representatives supported that bill. We applaud Chairman Larry Taylor and the Senate Education Committee for their call to study school finance during the interim and we appreciate our senator supporting that aspect of the bill.

 

Perhaps if we can talk and move toward repair of our method of school finance, then we can make more progress on broader educational reforms to improve the system. Advocates of public education are often wary of educational reforms. If we fix the system of cost-shifting down to the local government, we could then turn to such education reforms, all while also righting the burden of our rising property taxes. Conversations about what education reforms will improve student outcomes seem premature if the essentials of adequately funding Texas public schools isn’t first addressed.

 

It’s imperative to our future economic growth and vitality that we address our broken property-tax system. It is certainly true that, because Texas does not have a state income tax, our overall tax burden places us in the middle of the pack in a state-by-state ranking. Yet our property taxes are among the highest in the nation. The pro-business orientation of our elected leadership and a friendly regulatory environment have allowed us in Texas to be very successful in attracting and expanding business. Imagine how much stronger our hand would be in competing for new business — particularly those that are capital intensive and thus generate higher property taxes — if we were able to lower our property-tax bills. Property tax relief and reform is possible. It begins with fixing our method of funding Texas public schools.

 

Meaningful property-tax reform and relief is important to businesses and residential owners alike. Perhaps if we could set aside our ideas about what we’ve always known, and be willing to think outside the box about meaningful policy solutions, we could create a property-tax system that allows the certainty that businesses need to grow and thrive, while also improving school funding and student outcomes so that our schools are strengthened and can create a future workforce ready to meet the needs of a thriving state economy that supports enhanced quality of life for us all. The prosperity and economic strength of our state — and all her people — depends on it.

 

-Jessica Attas is director of public policy for the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce. Our mission is to “prepare and market the Greater Waco region for the businesses and jobs of the future and an outstanding quality of life.”

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WacoTransitAwardThe Greater Waco Chamber recognized Waco Transit System as their First Annual Business Innovator Award winner at a luncheon on Tuesday, November 19.

 

Waco Transit System, operator of the Baylor University Shuttle, developed a free app for smart phones that tracks all their campus shuttle buses. Both riders and the corporate office are able to see where buses are along their routes and have an accurate, estimated arrival time for various stops.

 

“We had so many great innovations submitted for this new award, but the GPS tracking system that Waco Transit System developed will be a true game changer for public transportation to downtown Waco and surrounding areas,” said Linda Beasley, executive vice president at the Greater Waco Chamber. “This new tracking system has eliminated questions and insecurity from students about whether or not a bus had arrived and departed from a specific stop, while aiding the corporate office in ensuring their buses stay on-course.”

 

The Business Innovator Award is designed to recognize the creative spirit and hard work of the person or organization responsible for helping make Central Texas a hub for creative excellence.

 

“Innovation of products and services is key to creating an economically and culturally thriving area,” said Beasley. “However, innovative ideas are seldom the result of hard work, but a systematic process that identifies a customer’s needs and then finding a creative way to meet those needs. The Greater Waco community has a strong creative presence, so we are excited to have the opportunity to recognize those efforts through this new award.”

 

Greater Waco Chamber members in an organization of any size, for-profit and non-profit, high-tech or low-tech, were encouraged to nominate their products or services.

 

The four finalists announced during the Business Innovator Award luncheon were Outdoor Waco, Wardlaw Claims Service/RoofLook, Moment by Moment Growth and Learning, and the Waco Transit System.

 

The Gold Sponsor for this event was Providence Healthcare Network. The Bronze Sponsors were Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat, BBVA Compass, Capstone Mechanical, Coca-Cola, Ratliff Ready Mix, Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center, Courtyard by Marriott, Profiles International and InterviewStream.

 

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About Greater Waco Chamber:
The Greater Waco Chamber is a business leadership organization that advances a progressive and visionary agenda for economic growth and quality of life. The Chamber prepares and markets Greater Waco for the businesses and jobs of the future and enhances the quality of life of the community by promoting strategic development. For more information, visit Waco Chamber.com.

 

 

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Kris CollinsThe Greater Waco Chamber is pleased to announce that Kristina Collins has been named the organization’s new senior vice president for economic development. Collins has been with the Greater Waco Chamber since 2005, most recently serving as the organization’s director of business retention and expansion services. She succeeds Sarah Roberts, who left the Chamber in May to join the private sector.

“I have had the pleasure of working with Kris Collins since I joined the Chamber nearly one year ago,” said Matt Meadors, president and CEO of the Greater Waco Chamber. “She is an energetic, knowledgeable and innovative economic development professional, and we are confident she will prove to be an outstanding leader of our economic development program.”

Glenn Robinson, president and CEO of Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center and a member of the Greater Waco Chamber Executive Committee, led an advisory committee established by the Chamber to assist in the search for its next economic development leader. According to Robinson, the advisory committee advertised the position nationally.

“We received more than 40 resumes from candidates across the country expressing interest in the position, including economic development professionals as well as individuals from the private sector,” said Robinson. “In the end, we felt we had the best candidate in Kris Collins. She is a capable, proven performer and we are confident she is going to emerge as one of the finest economic development leaders in the state of Texas, and beyond.”

“I am very excited to lead the Greater Waco Chamber’s Economic Development team,” said Collins. “Our organization has a legacy of high performing economic development leaders, and I am honored to carry forward along an already blazoned trail. Greater Waco is in a transformative period with terrific opportunities on the horizon, and I am very optimistic about what the future holds for this community and look forward to working with our partners throughout the region to realize and exceed our potential.”

Collins is a certified Business Retention and Expansion (BRE) Project Coordinator through Business Retention & Expansion International (BREI), a member of the International and Texas Economic Development Councils (IEDC & TEDC) and several other professional and trade associations related to her work at the Chamber. Currently, she is pursing professional certification through the International Economic Development Council to become a Certified Economic Developer (CEcD). She is a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with a B.A. in Government.

About the Greater Waco Chamber:
The Greater Waco Chamber is a well-respected, high-impact economic and community development organization advancing a progressive and visionary agenda for economic growth and quality of life. Greater Waco is located in McLennan County, Texas along the Interstate 35 corridor and is home to more than 14,000 companies, 234,906 people and a regional workforce of approximately 320,000. To prepare and market the Greater Waco region for the businesses and jobs of the future, Greater Waco is strategically positioned with centralized access to Dallas and Austin (90 miles) and Houston and San Antonio (185 miles).

Since 2006, Greater Waco has seen more than $758 million in new capital investments and $530 million in riverfront and downtown development, making it an attractive place to live, work and play. Greater Waco is landscaped with top-rated higher educational institutions, including Baylor University, McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College Waco.

The Greater Waco Chamber targets five key industries for economic development, which include: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Health Care, Professional and Financial Services and Supply Chain Management. For more information, visit WacoChamber.com.

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TriWaco, a USA Triathlon (USAT) sanctioned Olympic and sprint distance event in the Heart of Texas, will begin at 7 a.m. on Sunday, July 28 in Indian Spring Park. Up to 1000 participants are expected for this event. It has been deemed a Regional Intermediate Triathlon Championship for this year by USAT.

 

The Olympic triathlon starts with a 1500-meter open water swim in the Brazos River (no wetsuits) followed by a mostly flat and fast 25-mile bike ride on country roads north and west of Waco. Finishing out the race is a hilly 10-kilometer run along the Brazos River that leads to the oldest suspension bridge in the United States.

 

The sprint distance event includes a 400-meter open water swim in the Brazos River, a 12-mile bike ride along the same country roads and a 5-kilometer run finishing on the suspension bridge.

 

“Triathlon’s test a person’s endurance and strength on land and in the water, which is why we are so excited to be able to support triathletes in the Central Texas area,” said Ashley Futris, director of sports and special events with the Greater Waco Chamber. “We have the perfect landscape to build camaraderie between athletes of all ages and skill levels, so it’s not surprising that we have more than 300 volunteers that have come together to help create this amazing event.”

 

Registration is $90 for the Olympic distance triathlons. Each participant will receive a dri-fit T-shirt, towel, water bottle and custom finisher medal. Online registration is available at TriWaco.org and on-site registration will be available on Saturday, July 27 from 7 a.m. to noon. All participants need to check in, along with on-site registrants, in the Three Rivers ballroom at the Waco Hilton Hotel at 113 S. University Parks Dr.

 

All participants are encouraged to arrive no later than 5 a.m. on race day to park, unload equipment, ready their transition area and review the course.

 

The title sponsor is Hillcrest Baptist Medical Center & Scott & White Healthcare. Gold Sponsors are Coke and Top Dollar Pawn Superstores. Silver Sponsors are Capstone Mechanical, Southwest Sports Medicine and Orthopaedics, Outdoor Waco and Greg May Honda. Bronze Sponsors are Barsh General Contractors, HEB, Independent Bank, Scanes, Routh & James, Insurors of Texas, B&B Athletics and Hilton Waco. Host Sponsors are the City of Waco and the Greater Waco Chamber.

 

For more information, visit TriWaco.org or call Jack Weiss, Ironhead Productions, at 817-707-0500 or Futris at 254-757-5605.

 

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The Waco Industrial Foundation (WIF) has purchased 634.694 acres in Robinson, Texas from Dove Hill Partners, LP continuing its efforts to grow the economy through the attraction and expansion of business in the Greater Waco area. The property is located at the southeastern corner of Interstate 35 and South Loop 340/State Highway 6. The property has 2,300 feet of Interstate frontage and 1,400 feet of frontage on Loop 340.

 
The sale of the property was brokered by H. Bland Cromwell, CCIM, SIOR of Coldwell Banker Commercial, Jim Stewart, Realtors, and was supported by Jason Cooper, Cooper Real Estate Advisors, LLC of Dallas.

 
“The acquisition of this land is a huge event, allowing the Waco Industrial Foundation the ability to provide quality industrial sites for prospective industries to locate or expand in McLennan County. The location is ideal for high profile tenants that desire visibility within the I-35 corridor. It will undoubtedly serve as a cornerstone for continued quality growth within the city of Robinson,” said Bob Davis, president of the Waco Industrial Foundation.

 

WIF actively manages a $37.5 million real estate portfolio with more than 1,200 acres available for sale in its industrial parks. Texas Central Park, located in southern McLennan County, has more than 70 corporate tenants including Mars Chocolate, Coca-Cola Refreshments, and both Caterpillar Work Tools and Logistics.  Waco Aviation Industrial Park, near the Texas State Technical College Airport, is home to Sanderson Farms and Dr Pepper Bottling. The additional 635 acres in Robinson is a strategic acquisition for continued industrial and economic growth that will nearly double the land WIF has available in the southern part of Greater Waco for industrial development.

 

“From a planning perspective, this property has everything you need to develop: visibility, a poised entrance into the Robinson/Waco area, Interstate Highway frontage, and available water and wastewater. We, at the City of Robinson, look forward to working with the Waco Industrial Foundation and the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce on putting together the best plan for development for the property,” said Robert Cervenka, City Manager of Robinson, Texas. “The purchase will change the face of Robinson for years to come.”

 
desire to see the land developed in a manner that would have a positive impact on the future growth of this area and their agreeing to a discounted sale of the land. This acquisition is the culmination of months of work, planning, and discussion between the Waco Industrial Foundation, city of Robinson and Jeff Bowden.”

 

According to Cromwell, the purchase between Jeff Bowden, with Dove Hill Partners, is a rare transaction that benefits all parties. The Bowden family always wanted to sell the property to an organization that was in the business of attracting jobs and industries. They felt that WIF could handle a large prominent site.

 

“My dad started buying land at that intersection over 20 years ago,” said Bowden. “In January, Bland [Cromwell] and I started talking in earnest about who’d be the best developer for the Robinson tract. The whole process of dealing with [WIF] has been a joy. At closing, I gave Bob Davis a bucket of dirt from the Robinson tract. I wrote on the bucket, ‘It’s an honor to pass our land to you.’ I’ll tell you something else, in the past few years I’ve gotten to know Robinson’s city manager, Bob Cervenka. He and his city council are gonna do great things for Robinson.”

 

WIF has an inventory of fully developed sites with proximity to Interstate 35, the mainline rail system, Texas State Technical College Waco Industrial Airport and commercial air service at Waco Regional Airport. Since 1958, WIF has developed more than 5,000 acres of business parks that have helped attract more than 110 companies representing more than 16,000 jobs and 17 million square feet of development in Greater Waco.

 

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About Greater Waco:
Greater Waco is located in McLennan County, Texas along the Interstate 35 corridor and is home to more than 14,000 companies, 234,906 people, and a regional workforce of approximately 320,000. Greater Waco is strategically positioned with centralized access to Dallas and Austin (90 miles) and Houston and San Antonio (185 miles).

 

Robinson, a community of 10,850 residents, is located in southern McLennan County and within a 15-minute drive to Waco. It is one of the fastest growing communities in the Greater Waco area, having seen 34% population growth since 2000.

 

Since 2006, there has been more than $806 million in new capital investments and $530 million in riverfront and downtown development, making Greater Waco an attractive place to live, work and play. The community is landscaped with top-rated higher educational institutions, including Baylor University, McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College-Waco.

 

Greater Waco target industries include: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Health Care, Professional and Financial Services, and Supply Chain Management.

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General Dynamics Information Technology, a business unit of General Dynamics (NYSE: GD), is locating a 68,312-square-foot Customer Support Center at 1205 N. Loop 340 in Lacy Lakeview (former Blue Cross Blue Shield building). 

 

The center, to be operated by subsidiary Vangent, will support General Dynamics’ contracts with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), including the 1-800-MEDICARE program, by providing responses to inquiries from CMS customers, beneficiaries and new Federally Facilitated Exchange consumers.

 

Lacy Lakeview City Manager Keith Bond said, “We are very excited about attracting another major employer in the city. We look forward to working with General Dynamics IT and want to extend a warm welcome.”

 

Waco City Manager Larry Groth agrees.

 

“Our City Council is very pleased to be able to assist with creating new jobs for our citizens, particularly those with great benefits. We look forward to a successful relationship,” said Groth.

 

McLennan County is also an economic development partner with the Greater Waco Chamber.

 

“We consider the news that General Dynamics IT has chosen a location in the community of Lacy Lakeview for their Texas home as positive for McLennan County,” Judge Scott Felton. “The surrounding areas of this community offer a large number of potential employees that would qualify for the types of jobs introduced by General Dynamics IT. Many of these potential employees are either just entering the job market or looking for a better opportunity. So, given the opportunity to work for a company that pays you while you are being trained for the job as well as providing benefits is a huge plus.”

 

General Dynamics IT employs approximately 21,000 globally, delivering IT enterprise solutions, managing large-scale, mission-critical IT programs and providing mission support services.

 

Employment, at the Lacy Lakeview location, is expected to reach more than 440 employees. General Dynamics will staff the new call center with customer service representatives this summer. Candidates for jobs are encouraged to apply online at www.gdit.com/careers. In addition, a job fair is planned for Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 at the McLennan County Workforce Solutions Center, 1416 S. New Road, Waco TX 76711. Additional job fairs will be planned and announced in the coming months. 

 

About General Dynamics
General Dynamics, headquartered in Falls Church, Va., employs approximately 95,000 people worldwide. The company is a market leader in business aviation; land and expeditionary combat systems, armaments and munitions; shipbuilding and marine systems; and information systems and technologies. More information about General Dynamics is available online at GeneralDynamics.com.

 

Vangent was acquired by General Dynamics Information Technology in 2011.

 

About Greater Waco:
Greater Waco is located in McLennan County, Texas along the Interstate 35 corridor and is home to more than 14,000 companies, 234,906 people, and a regional workforce of approximately 320,000. Greater Waco is strategically positioned with centralized access to Dallas and Austin (90 miles) and Houston and San Antonio (185 miles).

 

Lacy Lakeview, a community of 6,700 residents, is located in northern McLennan County and within a 15-minute drive to Waco.

 

Since 2006, Greater Waco has seen more than $758 million in new capital investments and $530 million in riverfront and downtown development, making it an attractive place to live, work and play. Greater Waco is landscaped with top-rated higher educational institutions, including Baylor University, McLennan Community College and Texas State Technical College Waco.

 

Greater Waco target industries include: Advanced Manufacturing, Aerospace and Defense, Health Care, Professional and Financial Services and Supply Chain Management.

 

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Online registration is open for the 15th Annual Startburst Junior Golf Tournament at StarburstGolf.com. More than 1,000 junior golfers will be accepted into the 2013 tournament.

The 15th annual Starburst Junior Golf Classic will be June 10-12 at nine area golf courses. The three-day tournament is open to all boy and girl junior golfers ages 7 to 18.

 

The cost is $215 for players ages 7-10 and $230 per player for players ages 11-18.  Registration includes all green fees, range balls, tournament gifts and dinner for the players’ entourage Monday and Tuesday night.

 

Caddies are welcome at the Starburst tournament. Girls and boys 7-10 will play nine holes Monday through Wednesday. The older golfers will play 18 holes Monday through Wednesday. Registration will not be accepted via phone.

 

Complete tournament information can be found at Starburstgolf.com or contact Blake Harris at (254) 757-5605.

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Sarah Roberts, senior vice president of economic development for the Greater Waco Chamber,  has been selected as a winner in the economic development profession’s “40 Under 40”awards, the first-ever awards program recognizing young talent in the economic development profession.

 

A five-member selection committee chose the winners from a pool of more than 150 candidates based on their exceptional contributions to the economic development industry. The award’s program was managed by Development Counsellors International (DCI), a New York-based firm that specializes in economic development marketing.
Matthew T. Meadors, president and CEO of the Greater Waco Chamber, applauded Roberts on the recognition.

 

“We are certainly pleased to have Sarah on our team and realize that she is deserving of this recognition in her peer group. Her professionalism and scope of economic development expertise is a valued asset in Greater Waco,” said Meadors.

 

Roberts is a graduate of Baylor University with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in entrepreneurship. She joined the Chamber team in 2003 and leads the organization’s regional economic development efforts. In addition to growing Greater Waco’s diverse economic sectors, she also builds strategic real estate assets in the Waco Industrial Foundation’s 5,000-acre portfolio.

 

DCI’s “40 Under 40” award was designed to discover the economic development profession’s rising stars.

 

“The people chosen by the selection committee represent a bright future for the economic development world,” said Andy Levine, president of DCI. “They are a new breed of results-driven place makers. We’re very pleased to see Roberts among the winners.”

 

DCI officially announced the winners last night at an awards reception during the International Economic Development Council Leadership Summit in Orlando and will feature an in-depth profile of each on its website during 2013.

 

For more information on DCI’s “40 Under 40” winners, visit AboutDCI.com/40under40.

 

About Greater Waco Chamber
The Greater Waco Chamber is a business leadership organization that advances a progressive and visionary agenda for economic growth and quality of life. The Chamber prepares and markets Greater Waco for the businesses and jobs of the future and enhances the quality of life of the community by promoting strategic development. For more information, visit Waco Chamber.com.

 

About DCI
Considered the leader in marketing places, Development Counsellors International (DCI) specializes in economic development and tourism marketing.  The agency has worked for more than 400 cities, regions, states and countries since it was established in New York City in 1960. For more information, visit AboutDCI.com.

 

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The Greater Waco Chamber will host the district’s state legislators at 8:30 a.m. Feb. 1 to discuss items important to the 83rd Biennial Session.

 

This will be an opportunity to meet and gain insight from elected officials on issues important to the community. The event will begin with breakfast, followed by presentations from Rep. Charles “Doc” Anderson, Rep. Kyle Kacal and Sen. Brian Birdwell.

 

The Chamber’s Legislative and Governmental Affairs Committee has created the 2013 Legislative Focus book to identify key legislative issues and updated positions.

 

Updated legislative positions adopted by the Chamber’s Board of Directors strengthen the Chamber’s long-standing commitment to education, health care, economic development, environmental protection and transportation.

 

Waco Day in Waco will also focus on general community priorities and the Chamber’s commitment to developing a cultural core through investments in the arts and cultural capital.

 

The Legislative Committee represents local business interests and works to advance community goals with local, state and federal governmental officials.

 

For more information, visit WacoChamber.com and download the 2013 Legislative Focus book.

 

Make reservations with Ken Hampton at 757-5631.

 

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The Greater Waco Chamber will host the 42nd annual Equipment Depot Mid-Tex Farm & Ranch Show Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 5-6, in the Coliseum and General Exhibits Building at the Extraco Events Center, home of the Heart O’ Texas Fair & Rodeo. Show hours will be from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Feb. 5 and from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Feb. 6.

 

The Mid-Tex Show offers exhibitors a first-rate forum to present their products and services to an expected attendance of more than 3,000 Central Texas farmers and ranchers. Visitors to the Equipment Depot Mid-Tex Farm & Ranch Show will have the opportunity to view top exhibits of the newest farm and ranch equipment, seed, chemicals and ag-related services and technologies.

 

“We have moved all the exhibits into the coliseum this year to generate more traffic for our exhibitors as well as making it more convenient for our attendees,” said Ashley Futris, sports and special events coordinator at the Greater Waco Chamber.

 

New this year will be a Wildlife Seminar with wildlife biologist Gene Naquin. He will speak at 7 p.m. Feb. 5 in the General Exhibits Building about the deer, pheasant and quail industries.

 

The 51 Annual Blackland Income Growth Conference (B.I.G.) will be in conjunction with the Mid-Tex Show and will offer commodity sessions, special meetings and forums. Topics of discussion will include beef, horticulture and grain; health and fitness with a busy schedule; cotton, forage and wildlife; and other training and recertification sessions.

 

Selected McLennan county high school students will be awarded scholarships for outstanding FFA, FHA and 4-H members at the Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat Scholarship Luncheon. These exceptional students plan to major in an agricultural or home economics related field. Scholarships are sponsored by Associated Concrete Contractors, Brazos Valley Equipment and John McClaren Chevrolet.

 

Other sponsors include: Allen Samuels Chevrolet, Allen Samuels Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram Fiat, Alliance Distributing, Associated Contractors Inc, Brazos Valley Equipment Co, Buzbee Feed & Seed Inc, Dealers Electrical Supply Co, Educators Credit Union, First National Bank of Central Texas, Greg May Chevrolet, John McClaren Chevrolet, KXXV News Channel 25, Pioneer Steel & Pipe Company, Sykora Family Ford, Texas Animal Medical Center, Texas Cooperative Extension, Time Warner Cable, Tractor Supply, Wells Fargo Bank Texas N.A.

 

For more information about the Equipment Depot Mid-Tex Farm & Ranch show, call Ashley Futris at (254) 757-5604, or visit WacoChamber.com.

 

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