The Sherman Economic Development Corporation and Sherman City Council will hold their annual joint meeting Friday to discuss the economic developer’s budget, program of work and other plans for the next fiscal year.


The two groups will meet in the Sherman Municipal Ballroom at 12 p.m.


"We of course are going to do our results from our program of work for the fiscal year, and then we will go around and talk about the program of work for the next year,"SEDCO President Kent Sharp said.


During the meeting, City Council is expected to vote on approving SEDCO’s $6.12 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year. This represents a $1.89 million shortfall for SEDCO, which is expected to end the year with $10.4 million in cash and investments.


For the upcoming year, SEDCO plans to adjust its work to include new focuses on minority-owned and women-owned businesses. Another priority will focus on incentivizing and supporting entrepreneurs in the city by offering incentives and other perks.


"The program of work is something that comes out of our bylaws. We are required to develop and implement an economic plan and a plan of work — how you are going to do that— each year," Sharp said in August. "It basically means these are the six goals we are going to pursue based on what our bylaws say our mission is."


With regard to minority- and women-owned businesses, Sharp said the first step will be to identify what businesses fall into this category. From there, SEDCO can develop strategies to help support existing businesses while encouraging others.


"Women-owned and minority-owned business have been a topic of interest for many years," he said. "What I am trying to tell the community is that those businesses are important to SEDCO and we don’t need to just pay lip service and need to instead put money toward the topic."


With regard to the budget, SEDCO plans to invest some of the funding in new advertising platforms including virtual outreach. For 2019-2020, many trade shows and traditional avenues were canceled due to COVID-19.


"We are still doing or business retention and expansion, although we aren’t getting out into plants near as much as we did due to new company protocols," Sharp said.


Michael Hutchins is the local government reporter for the Herald Democrat. He can be reached at mhutchins@heralddemocrat.com.