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Denison endorses TMC for enterprise zone status

Michael Hutchins
Herald Democrat
The city of Denison has nominated Texoma Medical Center for enterprise project status with the state of Texas.  The designation would allow the hospital to see incentives related to$45 million in investment it expects to make over the next five years.

Texoma Medical Center is working towards pursuing state funding for $45 million in upcoming expansions and investment.

The city council agreed to nominate TMC and UHS of Texoma as an enterprise project with the Texas Enterprise Zone Program. The program and designation are designed to assist companies who invest significant capital investment in projects that increase employment or retain employees.

The Texas Enterprise Fund awards “deal-closing” grants to companies considering a new project for which one Texas site is competing with other out-of-state sites," the Office of the Texas Governor said on it's website. "The fund serves as a financial incentive for those companies whose projects would contribute significant capital investment and new employment opportunities to the state’s economy."

If accepted into the program, TMC would be awarded a rebate on its sales taxes for capital investments into the hospital based on the jobs created or retained by the investment.

The designation comes as the hospital has continued to grow in recent years, with the addition of a new Emergency Department and Medical Office Building, among other additions. Documents for Monday's meeting note that TMC plans to invest $45 million in new equipment and facility upgrades in the next five years.

Calls and messages for comment to TMC for this story were not immediately returned.

Meeting documents indicate that TMC plans to spend about $15 million in machinery and equipment with $30 million invested in facilities and construction.

This marks the second Enterprise Zone nomination that the city has done within the past five years. In 2016, the city nominated Ruiz Foods as an enterprise project for similar incentives.

Denison Development Alliance President Tony Kaai said the zone can be a powerful took for industries investing significant capital, but it does have some requirements.

Kaai said the investment must create or train jobs that are from mid- to low-income areas or populations.

"The bottom line, you have to show for these hires that you have under employed people that you are employing," he said.

As a part of the application for the project status the hospital and its consultants must prove this, he said.

"I am not sure how TMC is going to do that, but there are criteria that they will have to meet to get the rebate," he said.

Monday's action simply acted as a formal endorsement for TMC, Kaai said. The city loses nothing by endorsing and supporting TMC in its effort to acquire funding through the state, he said. 

"It doesn't cost us anything and is a political technicality where the city must support it (the project)," he said. "Of course we support it."

"The hospital is the key economic driver for the while region," he continued. "If they qualify for the incentives we are pro business and will do everything we can to assist."