BY CHRISTINA DERR
The city of Springtown is taking another stab at research needed for successful economic development progress.
After the efforts of its former economic development consultant, Mundo and Associates didn’t reap the desired results, the city council voted Feb. 22 to terminate the city’s contract with Pam Mundo and her firm, and place those responsibilities under the purview of City Administrator David Miller.
Five months later, a new firm – The Canvass Group – is offering to provide an expanded and more informative version of the research that was to have been done as part of Mundo’s contract.
The right kind of data
Holding up a copy of some economic information already on the city’s website, Canvass partner Joseph Fackel said that what the city is currently presenting to prospective developers and investors is inadequate.
Miller agreed: “There is a difference between radii studies (an example of which is what Fackel showed as evidence of the wrong kind of data) and psychographic analytic information.”
The latter goes further into detail about the potential for entities interested in developing in Springtown.
His firm’s goal is to collect the needed data and give it to Miller to assist him in his economic development endeavors on behalf of the city.
Fackel said that there is a difference in having data – which he said is easily accessible – and knowing how to use it. He added that commercial properties “are the foundation for any given community’s quality of life” because of the city’s dependence on sales tax to provide services.
For the fiscal year 2017-18, the city of Springtown based 49 percent of its general fund revenue budget on sales tax income while ad valorem or property taxes represent only 21 percent of the same.
Market analysis and canvass
Included in the $15,000 contract approved by the city council July 26 are two parts in preparing the data.
The first is an in-depth market analysis including:
•Trade area determination using city limits, radii, drive-time, and other custom factors.
• A complete demographic assessment.
• Panorama lifestyle segmentation which is an analysis of consumer attitudes, values, behaviors, emotions, perceptions, beliefs, and interests based on multiple variables.
• Retail leakage and surplus and retail void analyses examining how much in retail dollars the city is losing to neighboring towns’ commercial establishments.
• Aerial highlighting of existing retail.
The second part requires a more hands-on approach where Fackel and his partner Sandy “Bear” Burnett will tour the market in person, catalog available retail properties, identify and evaluate commercial sites as well as higher and best use opportunities, and identify tenants.
After the data is gathered, Fackel said it will be given to Miller – who Fackel has previously worked with and who he called “one of the few city managers in the country who understand the intricacies of economic development” – and the city to use as they pursue future development.
The contract will be paid for out of the city’s economic development budget.