The Durant Industrial Authority and Economic Development Council held their regular monthly meetings Tuesday morning.
Oklahoma Senator Josh Brecheen joined both meetings. The DIA discussed several items of business including the appraisal of land in the city’s industrial parks.
After reviewing the appraisals presented the authority questioned the methods used. One property that had more amenities than another was given a much lower value.
The authority will have the appraiser take another look the properties and explain the decisions made on the appraisals.
A new Career Pathways Initiative program was also discussed in the meeting. The program is designed to get children in junior high school thinking about and working toward their career goals.
DIA Executive Director Tommy Kramer said that Governor Mary Fallin recently sent out a letter asking economic developers to encourage this type of program.
He said that there is a national shortage of well trained workers going into the workforce.
“We’re experiencing it all over Oklahoma,” said Kramer.
A luncheon will be held Thursday August 15 with 30 people, including local industry leaders and three local school superintendents to promote this program.
During the luncheon the Duncan Assistant School Superintendent and Chickasha Chamber of Commerce Director will both speak on the program and explain it in full.
The program currently in use in Duncan will serve as the model for the program in Durant.
“It’s going to have to be a partnership that’s long term that’s with the university, the county schools, the Durant schools and Career Tech in working through helping these young people get career focused,” said Kramer.
Also discussed in the meeting were the current standings of the Pointe Vista Project. Brecheen said that there have been ongoing discussions in state government on this issue.
The contracts are being reviewed and there has been discussion of seeking outside legal counsel. The ideal situation would be for the land to be conveyed back to the state if Pointe Vista does not make progress soon, however.
U.S. Representative for Oklahoma Markwayne Mullin was present for the Durant Economic Development Council to give a legislative update and answer questions.
The discussion focused on immigration reform and businesses verses government. Mullin said that despite all of the natural resources in the area, this is one of the poorest districts in the state because people can’t afford to fight for their businesses.
He said the biggest threat to companies is unfunded mandates and regulations. He said there is something wrong with this.
He said business owners are not getting involved like they should due to fear of repercussions.
“But look, if we sit on our hands and don’t do anything … let me ask you has it gotten better for you or worse?” said Mullin.
He addressed the concern about owners having to be away from their companies too long as well, saying he has to do it and his company is no different from anyone else’s.
He said that in his time as Representative he has learned that if the business owners want their concerns addressed at a national level, they need to make it seen in the eyes of the media.
On that note, Mullin left the meeting to hold a town hall meeting at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Center and Library.