New ordinance by Haltom City Council & actions by City Staff prevent many industrial & commercial leases from being consummated.
HALTOM CITY, TX, May 16, 2023 /24-7PressRelease/ — Ron Sturgeon, a founding member of Haltom United Business Alliance, reports that the alliance continues to get phone calls from landlords who are just now figuring out that the ordinance Haltom City Council passed almost a year ago is affecting their ability to lease properties in Haltom City, especially in the industrial parts of town.
Roy Sullens, a well-known Haltom City developer who has torn down many old, decrepit buildings and replaced them with new buildings designed for automotive tenants, has found that his buildings are now unviable because other types of businesses don’t want them.
“A new building suited for automotive uses with large service bays that I completed some time ago in the industrial part of Haltom City is still unoccupied, even though I have tried leasing it more than ten times,” said Sullens.
In frustration, Sullens called city staff who told him that although an automotive business could be approved for a conditional use permit (CUP) in the industrial parts of town, the Haltom City Council was unlikely to allow it.
Sullens says that he immediately turns away eight of every ten prospects who call to lease the space in his automotive-style buildings in the industrial parts of town because they are automotive uses and won’t be able to get the permit needed to get a certificate of occupancy.
Sturgeon’s new book now in its second edition, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities: The Critical Role Small Businesses Play in Bringing Back Jobs & Prosperity, has a chapter devoted to real estate values. The chapter explains that real estate values fall when property owners can’t lease their properties and must lower rents to attract tenants from a smaller pool.
As rents and values move downward, the city gets less in ad valorem taxes. In addition, the vacant properties create no jobs, offer no services or goods choices to the marketplace and result in no sales taxes paid to the city. As the vacancies accumulate, cities are under pressure to make up the shortfall from somewhere else.
“Some city residents don’t realize that as business tax revenues fall, cities feel the heat to make up the difference from residents,” says HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer.
Even as Haltom City announced lower property tax rates, it collected more in property taxes from residents in 2022 because home values had continued to climb, because the current council did not lower the tax levy.
Although the current leadership in the city has pushed plans to bring large businesses to the North side of Haltom City, it has not put realistic plans in place to revitalize the older parts of South and Central Haltom City. The South side has recently lost four businesses on Denton Highway: Kroger, CVS, Fire Cup Coffee and Big Lots.
“The process of rebuilding the corridors of South and Central Haltom City requires attracting small businesses back, one at a time,” says Palmer. The big businesses, the eateries, the grocery store, none of them are going to come to declining corridors.
In 2022, Sturgeon launched MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain, a campaign aimed at bringing new leadership to the city so that the city can begin to attract back the small businesses it has lost in South and Central Haltom City.
“The leaders in small cities like Haltom City need to recognize that they are in competition with nearby cities to attract and keep small businesses. They need to think strategically about how to win that competition. That includes taking steps like building a brand for the city and examining the city’s table of uses to find areas where the city can create advantages over its neighbors.” said Sturgeon.
He added, “While other cities make changes to help revitalize their declining areas, Haltom City is standing still.” Cities nationwide, such as Fayetteville, Arkansaw and Nashville, Tennessee, are eliminating parking minimums to spur small business formation. Fayetteville has seen a robust recovery in what had been a declining city. California recently eliminated parking minimums statewide.
Palmer said, “Haltom City doesn’t have to continue to be decades behind all the other cities; it is small enough that it could be a nimble innovator.”
Hartford, Connecticut, pegged its lost revenue at $1,200 per excess parking space, or $50 million annually.
As part of the MakeHaltomCityThriveAgain campaign, Sturgeon will send a free copy of the book to any Haltom City resident or business owner just for asking.
“I am offering the new book, the second edition, to Haltom City residents who are interested in a brighter future for Haltom City that includes more jobs, more choices of goods and services and more small businesses filling spaces that are vacant right now in South and Central Haltom City.” A free copy of the book can be obtained by sending your name and address to Ron Sturgeon at [email protected].
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a medium-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. The city is diverse and majority working class, with a growing population that is approximately 10% Asian-American and 45% Hispanic. Haltom City benefits from being only minutes from both DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth, with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Small businesses that have historically provided products, services, and jobs to residents included a once thriving automotive industry. The city has seen a decline in small businesses, especially automotive businesses. The city is healthy financially, with median household income growing around 8% in the past year. Haltom City has an opportunity for continued growth through undeveloped land and many vacant buildings, especially in major corridors close to the city’s center. The city has good staff and a city manager who is interested in seeing more businesses come to Haltom City, but they can only do as directed by City Council.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurtures small business growth, including automotive businesses in the industrial districts, and bring more restaurants including breweries and eventually a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. HUBA believes that the southern and central parts of the city need a revitalization plan, to prevent further degradation in those areas, and wants that to happen before the inner-city experiences increased crime and more blight. As retail and office uses are in decline, it’s more critical than ever to attract new businesses. They believe that such a plan requires a strong relationship and support of the business community. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join HUBA. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at [email protected]. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
About Make Haltom City Thrive Again
The Make Haltom City Thrive Again is a movement to return prosperity to the older parts of South and Central Haltom City by luring the small businesses that have left over the past decades back to Haltom City. A vibrant business community not only allows for greater employment and choice of goods and services, but also can ease the tax burden on residents. The movement is led by local entrepreneur and business owner Ron Sturgeon. For more on Sturgeon’s ideas and background, check out his book, Keeping the Lights on Downtown in America’s Small Cities and watch the videos on his Facebook page. Ron is also the founder of the Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) which represents existing business interests in Haltom City and promotes growth of diverse businesses. HUBA is not a political action committee and does not endorse candidates. If/when Ron endorses candidates, he will do so on his own via the Make Haltom City Thrive Again organization.
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