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COVID-19 Revolving Loan Fund Plan


May 2018 Revised 9/24/2020 Revised to include COVID-19.

PLAN INTRODUCTION Under Title IX of the Public Works and Economic Development Act of 1967, as amended, the Economic Development Administration, hereinafter called EDA, may assist distressed areas experiencing long-term economic deterioration or areas threatened or impacted by severe economic dislocation. The Revolving Loan Fund Plan was developed in accordance with EDA Directive No. 17.07 dated 7/10/89 and the updated EDA Guidelines dated March 14, 2018. As adopted, the RLF Plan has become the Standard Operating Procedure for the North East Texas Economic Development District, Inc., hereinafter called NETEDD in administering a revolving loan fund program in areas experiencing long-term economic deterioration and/or severe economic dislocation. Both exemplified in part by high or excessive unemployment rates relative to surrounding areas and the state. The Revolving Loan Plan is divided into two parts. The first covers the strategy of the RLF Plan, and the second covers the operational procedures.

PART I. THE REVOLVING LOAN FUND STRATEGY (i) Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy Overview The North East Texas Economic Development District (NETEDD) consists of nine counties in the “Right Corner of Texas” or the far northeastern part of the state. This nine-county region, including Bowie, Cass, Delta, Franklin, Hopkins, Lamar, Morris, Red River, and Titus counties, covers almost 5,732 square miles and is home to approximately 283,978 people.

In the Spring of 2020, a merging of CTEDD and NETEDD RLF’s from EDA and evaluation of distressed counties in the adjacent areas resulted in a service area of 30 counties. Due to response to COVID -19, additional RLF funds became available. East Texas Council of Governments is seeking competitively to establish an RLF fund through EDA. As a result of this funding, NETEDD will relinquish six (6) EDA RLF counties to ETCOG if approved (Camp, Gregg, Harrison, Marion, Panola, and Upshur as indicated to EDA via letter to ETCOG).

As of September 24, 2020, NETEDD will serve the following counties with RLF: Bell, Bosque, Camp, Coryell, Eastland, Erath, Falls, Freestone, Gregg, Harrison, Hill, Johnson, Limestone, McLennan, Marion, Milam, Navarro, Panola, Somervell, Upshur in Texas, and Miller County in Arkansas. To maintain the purpose of the funding, NETEDD staff will review the CEDS and annual updates for each of the areas covered.

NOTE: The Counties in Bold/Italics ate ETCOG Counties and will be removed upon notification from EDA if ETCOG is awarded RLF funds. Page 1 of 86 2 In consideration of the size of the district, the Board and staff, relied on a variety of resources and partners to obtain input into the 2018 Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) Report.

Meetings with partners were used as a springboard to evoke discussion of economic development issues affecting the region. These partners provide information that is an integral part of this report. They include: Community and Private Sector Participation • Members of the North East Texas Economic Developers Roundtable (NETEDR) were vital to the initial planning process. A Roundtable is a group of professionals interested in economic development in North East Texas. The professionals come from city, county, state governments, private developers and consultants, utilities, non-profits, and quasi-governmental units such as Councils of Governments and River Authorities. The regular, open meetings are held in different communities in the district and serve as a forum for exchanging ideas and information related to economic development in North East Texas. The Roundtable’s website http://therightcorner.com/ contains information about available sites for development and community profiles for the region,
• Elected officials from counties and cities in the NETEDD region were involved in the process,
• City managers/Economic Development Administrators/Chambers of Commerce staff and Board members were involved,
• Northeast Texas Workforce Commission Staff and Board members were primary contributors,
• The Ark-Tex Council of Governments staff and board members were an essential source of information,
• Local Community Leaders from Educational and Religious organizations provided information concerning their communities,
• Major Business Owners from various areas within the region gave input and information. STRENGTHS The strengths that were reported for the NETEDD region in the 2013 CEDS Report continue in 2018 as strong attributes for the region:
• Affordable housing,
• Good water resources,
• Available land for development,
• Available workforce,
• Existing educational institutions such as universities, community colleges, and technical schools,
• Good natural resources,
• Location along transportation corridors/crossroads for major highways, • Adequate hospitals, and other medical facilities,
• Fairly good industrial diversity,
• Growth potential in agribusiness, logistics, and ecotourism. Page 2 of 86 3 WEAKNESSES Many of the weaknesses that were reported in 2013 continue to plague the NETEDD region as well in 2018:
• Relatively low wage levels,
• Higher than state average mortality rates, illiteracy rates, and poverty rates,
• Aging population [According to Texas Dept. of Aging estimates, approximately 14% of those over the age of 60 live in poverty],
• Unemployment rates are higher than the state average,
• Disability rates are higher than the state average,
• Per capita income is lower than state and nation,
• Average value of owned homes is low,
• Educational attainment rates are low,
• Shortage of highly skilled labor, Job growth is slow,
• New business growth is low,
• Infrastructure is aging and inadequate,
• Public transportation and air transportation are inadequate,
• There are environmental concerns in some areas. GROWTH SECTORS The logical growth sectors for the NETEDD economy include healthcare, forest products, and added value agriculture and distribution centers because of geographic location and transportation opportunities. Some of the Industry Clustersthat exist or could exist in the region include:
• Forest products, • Added value forest products manufacturing,
• Petroleum,
• Poultry,
• Medical Districts,
• Manufacturer, Trucking Facilities and Distribution Centers,
• Prison Facilities NETEDD REGIONAL BACKGROUND ECONOMICS, The overall economy in the NETEDD Region continues to grow slowly, but naturally at a higher momentum, in the more populated communities with interstate highway or corridor highway access. Communities with attributes such as Texarkana (Bowie County), Paris (Lamar County), Sulphur Springs (Hopkins County), and Mt. Pleasant (Titus County) have all seen the benefits of multiple industrial and retail expansions and relocations over the past five years. Unfortunately, many rural communities and rural portions of the NETEDD counties, which continue to be dependent upon agriculture and commuting to employment, are still plagued with high unemployment and stagnant population growth or population decline.

Page 3 of 86 4 The vision for North East Texas has changed little from the days of Representative Wright Patman. He was credited with saying that he wanted to see residents in his part of Texas earn at the national average, be educated at the national average, and have fewer than the national average living below the poverty level. North East Texas has made changes and improvements. Still, our vision remains to have a workforce that is competitive nationally, earn wages at the national average, and relieve the burden of poverty from as many residents as possible.