Sites & Facilities Committee Chairman Jim Nelson said the move is logical now that the MDC's Building A is ready for occupancy by a business tenant and Atmos Energy is building a center adjacent to it. "The land we're purchasing on I-20 will be the beginning of a new industrial area," said Nelson.

In other business at the 8:30 a.m. City Hall meeting, Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Vice President Blake Wallace said the new Texas ACCESS Alliance Call Center in the old Texas Instruments building south of the airport has exceeded hopes by creating 290 jobs. Director Barry Horseman was absent.

MDC President John James won approval of his plan to hire a business retention and expansion manager to work with the board's new workforce development coordinator. He said a number of local businesses have been helped either to stay in business or grow and as much emphasis should be given to that concern as to soliciting new enterprises.

Wallace said recently hired workforce development coordinator Dee Dee Wallace has resigned and will have to be replaced. She was earning $30,000 a year.

City Finance Director Bob McNaughton said the area oil boom has accelerated sales tax revenues by 15 percent, but he did not project a continuation of that in the new budget, which calls for $4.7 million from sales taxes.

It provides for increases from $2.7 million to $3.3 million in economic development incentives, $82,500 to $185,000 in committed business incentives, $45,000 to $67,500 for international initiatives and $75,000 to $100,000 for recruitment and retention work.

MDC salaries will cost $308,438 this year and, if approved by the City Council, $407,325 next year, along with increases from $26,716 to $35,641 for payroll taxes, $27,367 to $42,645 for group insurance and $37,530 to $50,143 for retirements -- an overall increase from $400,051 to $535,754.

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