The Durant Economic Development Council met Tuesday in the Durant Industrial Authority conference room in the Durant Chamber of Commerce building.
The EDC announced that the city's 1 percent sales tax generated the highest monthly revenue recorded in the tax's 10 year history. The collection of $247,541 was an increase of 28.03 percent over last month.
REI Executive Vice President Kenny Simpson and Financial Services Director Debbie Partin gave a presentation on a New Market Tax Credit Program. The program is federally funded and is intended to harbor growth in low income areas.
Work Force Oklahoma representative Roy Davis reported Durant's labor market data for May. Davis told the council that Durant had an unemployment rate of just 3.6 percent. Davis also said changes to the Work Force Oklahoma office. He said now when job candidates come in they are given three assessment tests on computers in the office. This allows the office to better understand the strengths and weaknesses of potential candidates. Davis said that if candidates do not score high enough on the tests, programs were available on site to help them raise their scores.
DIA Executive Director Tommy Kramer followed Davis and gave an update on the many local economic development projects that the DIA was involved with. Kramer briefed the council on 19 different projects. Kramer announced that Ed F. Davis Inc. will expand it's Anheuser Busch distribution facility on West Side drive. Kramer also announced that the Earth Biofuels Biodiesel plant has “changed in scope” and has redesigned their production process. “The change will double their volume,” Kramer explained. Kramer also said that production tests will begin at the plant next week. Kramer aid that the Icon Manufacturing deal was going as planned.
Ghislain Gagnon was introduced to the council. Gagnon is an engineer Eagle Suspension a company that is relocating a facility from Canada to the Custom Molded Plastics plant. Kramer explained that Eagle would add 30,000 square feet to the back of the existing CMP plant and has applied for a $500,000 grant/loan package for a rail spur to the facility.