Tuesday, July 10th, the Greater Irving-Las Colinas Chamber hosted the 4th
annual State of Dallas County at the Westin Hotel DFW Airport. The luncheon keynote was the honorable Dallas
County Judge Clay Jenkins. In attendance
were seven Mayors from other cities within Dallas County, two Commissioners, including
Maurine Dickey – District 1 and Dr. Elba Garcia – District 4, Irving City
Manager Tommy Gonzalez and more than 150 area business leaders.
Chamber Chairwoman Jo Ann Goin, welcomed guests and spoke of the success
in Irving and the North Texas Region with recent corporate relocations and the
demand in industrial and the office market rebounding sharply. Goin stated,
“Recently the Dallas Business Journal reported that Texas has eight of the
fastest growing cities in the United States, and when companies look for the
best environment to build business while providing an excellent location for
their employees to live, work and play, they look no further than right here in
She continued by sharing recent economic developments happening in
Irving, including the announcement of the soon-to-open Connextions facility,
adding 800 jobs specifically to Irving, the relocation of Nationstar also
bringing 800 additional jobs and CHRISTUS Health’s office consolidation
bringing another 1000+ new jobs to Irving.
After pausing for lunch, Yalonda Lockett of reliant an NRG company, the
presenting sponsor, was introduced by Goin.
Lockett shared energy saving tips with the summer’s heat now upon us and
then formally introduced Irving’s commissioner, Dr. Elba Garcia.
Dr. Elba Garcia was elected to District 4 in November 2010 and became
the first Latina ever to serve on the Dallas County Commissioner’s Court. Dr.
Garcia shared the progress on roads and transportation specifically in Irving.
Before beginning his presentation, Judge Jenkins stated, Dallas-Fort
Worth is currently the fastest growing Metroplex in America. “And Irving has some of the best
infrastructure in Dallas County to take advantage of that growth trend,” he
Jenkins spoke on a variety of topics including the budget,
transportation projects, transparency and ethics, Parkland Hospital, as well as
current and future economic development projects.
After highlighting the county’s successes in cutting spending and
increasing the tax base as it pertains to the budget, Jenkins focused on the
funding of State Highway 183. With
shortfalls in the state’s transportation budget, the project is underfunded and
he is interested in seeing the bids and proposals from the private sector.
The Judge also made the audience aware of an 11% bleed in the NTTA’s revenues
due to commuters not paying tolls. This
has a negative effect on cities even without toll roads as NTTA money helps
fund improvements across the entire county.
After addressing the plan for progress with Parkland Hospital, Jenkins
switched gears and gave an update on a few economic development projects. Jenkins was instrumental in helping reverse
the decisions to close the United State Postal Service Dallas Distribution and
Processing Center on Sylvan Avenue, a decision that would have potentially
caused corporations in Dallas County to move to other metropolitan areas. The reversal also spared 1,000 jobs in Dallas
County, including 482 who are Veterans of war.
Before taking questions and closing the program, Dallas County Judge
Jenkins spoke passionately about the potential of an inland port in southern
Dallas County. Loop 9, a project that
will help connect three major highways and two rail lines would create an
economic climate that could take the average wages of our southern neighbors
from $9 to $18.
With the purpose of the luncheon to educate regional business leaders
on current economic development, transportation funding and projects,
especially those of importance to the Irving-Las Colinas area, Judge Jenkins
did an excellent job of providing an overview of Dallas County.