Business Alliance members express concern that revenues are not being spent to revitalize areas most at risk of further decline
HALTOM CITY, TX, March 10, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — It is clear to everyone that Haltom City’s southern and central corridors have been declining for decades. A consultant hired by Haltom City to work on a Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone for the city noted in his public presentation the decrepit buildings in those areas.
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) supports a TIRZ, but notes that it’s a 30-year plan, and none of the money generated can be spent on improvements to private property. TIRZ funds can be spent only on public projects like drainage, water systems, and sewer lines, as the consultant pointed out. HUBA doesn’t believe that the TIRZ is likely to slow the decline of South and Central Haltom City.
In a recent Facebook Post, current Councilwoman Tiffany Chandler reported on the city council’s recent activities and asserted that “the city [and prior councils] had been dependent on the property tax rate to keep up with the crumbling infrastructure.” She noted that many of Haltom City’s residents had low discretionary income. Touting the council’s work to revitalize the troubled parts of Haltom, Chandler noted the city had decided to try to attract distribution centers and that it had sold land for new residential development, and that the city had approved new restaurants, a brewery and new hotels. She failed to mention that almost all that development activity, except one warehouse development, has been in the newer parts of Haltom on the north side of town. In other words, almost none of it is going on where the lowest income residents are.
The people who live in South and Central Haltom City have been wanting a new grocery store in their part of town. The council believes that the increased activity on the north side of town will bring that according to her post, but HUBA believes that no grocery store is going to come to the declining corridors. HUBA believes that the answer to revitalizing central and southern Haltom City rests with the small businesses and entrepreneurs and private, not public, investment. The decrepit smaller boarded up buildings are not going to be occupied by large new businesses. In fact, the council recently took actions that prohibited new automotive businesses in all the cities commercial zones and moved to close more than 200 of them by making them legal nonconforming. Almost all these businesses are in the southern and central corridors, the areas that need the most help.
HUBA believes current leadership is focused on the new parts of town. In the post, Chandler wrote, “Also, we have a Cowtown brewery coming to the 820 corridors, and Hoffbrau is moving over there too. These two companies are working together to develop that land, and it is going to be really awesome for our city.” HUBA believes that it will be awesome for the northern part of the city. Some of the development in the new part of town is at the expense of the older parts. She reported that Hoffbrau is moving from the central corridor to the new northern area. This is part of a continuing string of closed businesses in the central and southern parts. HUBA believes this trend will continue so long as the council focuses on the north part of town and the large distribution centers, when the engine needed for revitalization is the small businesses, and a plan to make it easier for them to open or expand is badly needed.
Ms. Chandler seems particularly proud that the current council lowered the tax rate, while failing to note the large increases in property values that allowed that. In fact, most homeowners saw no drop in their property taxes, and many had increases. HUBA believes the city ignores the opportunity to get more sales taxes, business personal property taxes, and increased ad valorem taxes if the boarded-up buildings in south and central Haltom could be opened again. Those actions would benefit the lower income residents by bringing services, products and employment to the parts of the city where they are and the parts of the city that need it most.
Ms. Chandler closes her post by stating “Remember, the absolute best thing we can do for South Haltom is to develop new growth on the 820 corridors [North side] so that it becomes an economic engine to fuel investment money for South Haltom. New growth will always inherently be key to helping the neighboring areas to revitalize and not the other way around. It is just how things work.”
“It was good to see Tiffany Chandler’s post, so we can understand what the current council thinks”, said HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer. “We would like to see more diversity of thought on development issues because the council seems to vote as a bloc and not share much insight into their thoughts on these issues,” said Palmer. “Only one of the council members, Charlie Roberts, has questioned many of the initiatives, while specifically mentioning that the southern areas of Haltom City need help, but he appears to be the lone outlier, as Ms. Chandler speaks for the others,” he added.
HUBA does not believe that money from growth on the north side of the city will bring prosperity back to the older central and southern parts of the city.
Ron Sturgeon, a HUBA member and activist for the small business community says, “None of the members of the current Haltom City Council has owned a business and they simply don’t understand what really will revitalize the older sections of Haltom City. They don’t know what really turns the lights back on and fills the vacancies on the poorer side of town,” said Sturgeon. “Anyone that believes we should spend money on the North side of town so there will eventually be revenues to improve the south side is from another planet; government just doesn’t work like that”, he adds.
Joe Palmer says, “HUBA has proposed many ideas for revitalization of the declining areas, and the council has never entertained any of them, including modifying the use tables in specified areas to allow small business lower barrier to entry and putting together a mentoring program to pair experienced business owners with those seeking to start new businesses in South and Central Haltom City.” They also dismissed a 3rd party study with listed ideas on revitalizing the declining areas,” he adds.
Ms. Chandlers post with the report on council activities can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/groups/214968313236308/permalink/832738631459270/, on the Facebook page of a candidate for city council, Eric Morris. It’s not clear if the entire city council is endorsing Morris or just her. The page name is “Haltom City Residents for Eric Morris”.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a medium-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. The city is diverse and majority working class, with a growing population that is approximately 10% Asian-American and 45% Hispanic. Haltom City benefits from being only minutes from both DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth, with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Small businesses that have historically provided products, services, and jobs to residents included a once thriving automotive industry. The city has seen a decline in small businesses, especially automotive businesses. The city has dropped from the middle of Tarrant’s 41 cities to number 32, trailing 75% of the other cities for population growth, according to census data. Haltom City has an opportunity for continued growth through undeveloped land and many vacant buildings, especially in major corridors close to the city’s center. The city has good staff and a city manager who is interested in seeing more businesses come to Haltom City, but they can only do as directed by the City Council.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurtures small business growth, including automotive businesses, and bring more restaurants including breweries and a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. HUBA believes that the southern and central parts of the city need a revitalization plan, to prevent further degradation in those areas, and wants that to happen before the inner-city experiences increased crime and more blight. As retail and office uses are in decline, its more critical than ever to attract new businesses. They believe that such a plan requires a strong relationship and support of the business community. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
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