Waco Tribune-Herald: Local leaders to discuss 'State of the City and County'

Aug. 29, 2012

Reprinted by permission of the Waco Tribune-Herald

By J.B. SMITH

Wednesday August 29, 2012

Local government leaders will discuss Greater Waco's challenges and progress at a "State of the City and County" presentation today at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce headquarters.

Waco City Manager Larry Groth and McLennan County Judge Jim Lewis will speak at the free public event at 3 p.m. at the chamber, 101 S. Third St.

Chamber officials initiated the event, which they plan to make an annual tradition.

"The intent was to give them an annual opportunity to discuss what the state of the city and county is, in terms of budget challenges, infrastructure and economic development," said Ken Hampton, the chamber's senior vice president of community development. "It's a way of engaging local officials to make sure we understand what they're doing."

Chance to reflect

Groth said the presentation is a chance to reflect on the budgetary challenges of local government, as well as cause for civic pride, including such projects as the newly renovated convention center and the new Baylor University football stadium now under construction.

The downtown Tax Increment Financing board, which is funded by city, county, school and college tax revenues, recently pledged $35 million toward the $250 million stadium on the banks of the Brazos River.

Meanwhile, the $17.5 million convention center renovation is part of a $63 million bond issue voters approved in 2007.

That bond election funded major improvements in Cameron Park, Brazos Park East, the Texas Ranger Museum's Knox Hall, library expansions and new public safety facilities.

The chamber also is planning a "state of the state" event later this fall involving high-level state officials, Hampton said.