DALLAS (KRLD) - Officials at Dallas City Hall could be considering some changes to the city's economic development programs. City Council Member Chad West says there's a push to make sure that when the city offers tax breaks or loans to recruit a new business, it also looks at the needs of the people in the surrounding neighborhood.
"The City is developing an economic development strategic plan right now, and as part of that strategic plan we are going to be building in equity into these deals," he said.
The city's recent agreement with Royal Blue Grocery for a loan to help the company open a new store in the Bishop Arts Neighborhood included provisions about the store's minimum wage, along with requirements for the store to recruit from the surrounding neighborhoods during its hiring process. Similar provisions could be included in future deals with companies seeking tax breaks or other economic incentives to relocate or expand in Dallas, but it's likely those provisions would be decided on a case-by-case basis.
"Several members of the Council, myself included, want to see equity pieces in the deals. But every deal is different. You just can't say 'everybody who does business with the city has to do this step'," Council Member West said.
Council Member Carolyn King Arnold also wants to see provisions in those economic development agreements to make sure they benefit the surrounding neighborhoods but she agrees with West that the city will need to proceed cautiously.
"I think we have to continue to look at it, but it's going to be very important that we also include the community, the stakeholders and also the business community as we move forward...because we don't want to appear as if we are trying to force anything down anyone's throat," she said.
Any official changes to the city's economic development program would likely first be considered by the Council's Economic Development Committee.
KRLD In Depth has a closer look at economic development in Dallas.