San Angelo Mayor Takes Aim at Midland as Competitor for Economic Development
SAN ANGELO, TX — Mayor Brenda Gunter said tax relief for residential property owners will not happen unless the commercial and industrial tax base within the City of San Angelo is increased. And she took aim at Midland as a target without naming the Tall City.
The topic of economic development consumed most of her first State of the City address to the San Angelo Chamber of Commerce Tuesday at noon.
Gunter said she has met mayors from other cities where their property tax burden is $0.40 per $100 in property value. In San Angelo, the rate is $0.776.
Gunter’s speech called for a cohesive strategy to attract more businesses to the Business and Industrial Park on the northeast side of town. Attracting more commercial and industrial businesses to relocate here will reduce the property tax burden on San Angelo’s residential landowners, she said.
A comparison of comparable cities' property tax rates:
|Property Tax Rates, San Angelo|
|San Angelo ISD||1.210|
|Tom Green County||0.535|
|City of San Angelo||0.776|
|Property Tax Rates, Midland|
|City of Midland||0.399679|
|Property Tax Rates, Abilene|
|City of Abilene||0.7751|
|Property Tax Rates, Brownwood|
|City of Brownwood||0.7946|
At the City Council meeting earlier Tuesday, Gunter’s Council approved practically doubling the industrial park’s size.
The electric utility AEP purchased 52 acres near the industrial park and Gunter pushed through the plan to develop more lots there. City Development Corporation Director Roland Peña told Council Tuesday that of the 138 lots available in the old Phase I of the park, 121 are sold. Meanwhile across several acres of undeveloped parkland is the 52-acre plot where AEP is moving rapidly to construct an electricity power substation for the region.
Councilman Tommy Hiebert pulled an item on the consent agenda Tuesday that allows the City to spend $280,000 on an engineering study to start Phase II at the industrial park.
Perhaps fearing the item would lose support of her council, Gunter took control of the discussion, asking if approval of the expense will ally any fears from AEP that the City isn’t moving fast enough with the park expansion. The motion passed 7-0.
In her speech later that day, Gunter pushed for more economic development at the airport as well. In doing so, she called for an airport industrial park for the first time Tuesday. “San Angelo, I believe, must have an industrial park at the airport. Mathis Field has the added benefit of being located along a railway. We don’t transport goods by truck alone. Planes and trains have to be part of the equation,” she said.
She continued, “We have huge opportunities at our airport. But we’ve been so focused on landing a second passenger airline that we’ve missed out on the economic development opportunities at the airport. For example, there are huge needs for jobs in aeronautics and for airplane mechanics. An industrial park at San Angelo Regional Airport could meet those demands. Our competitors are already ahead of us in developing airports-slash-business or industrial parks. We’ve got to catch up so we can broaden our focus for the businesses we want to recruit.”
Gunter’s speech was targeting Midland as San Angelo’s primary competitor for new business and economic development. Midland’s industrial park is marketed as being just two miles north of the Midland International Airport, an airfield the City there recently renamed the Midland International Air and Space Port.
The City of Midland’s property tax rate is $0.40.