DDA discusses 2015 budget, electronic billboard

The Denison Development Alliance discussed a potential agreement Thursday for the construction of an electronic billboard overlooking U.S. Highway 75. The billboard, which is budgeted for $180,000 will be a joint effort through the DDA and the Denison Chamber of Commerce, which will collect advertising revenue.

The billboard is located at North Point Business Park near Lake Randell, and will overlook 75. The idea for the upgrade came after the DDA was approached about leasing the current, traditional billboard, DDA President Tony Kaai said.

The billboard will rotate advertisements every eight seconds, with about 7 advertisements every minute. One to two slots will be reserved for advertising of city events and activities. Kaai said the billboard could earn about $1,000 every month from each advertisement. The billboard has an expected lifespan of about 10 years.

“They have the potential to generate about $570,000,” said Kaai.

In the discussed agreement, the DDA would retain ownership of the billboard and the structure while the Chamber would have access to the advertising revenue from it for the next 10 years. The Chamber will pay $100,000 toward the initial construction, with the DDA adding in the final $80,000. The Chamber will repay the $80,000 over the course of five years.

The billboard project is included in the DDA’s 2015 budget, which was approved during the meeting. The budget projects $1.84 million in revenue for the 2015 fiscal year, with an additional $3.72 million carried over from the previous year.

The budget calls for $531,787 in administrative expenses including $269,909 in salaries and $50,000 in consultant fees. The salary budget could be adjusted if city staff are given a cost-of-living increase in pay, said Loretta Rhoden, vice president of operations. The DDA traditionally mirrors the city’s budget when it comes to pay increases.

In addition to administrative costs, the DDA is budgeting for $51,950 in program expenses and $994,630 in property management expenses and $315,428 in marketing expenses. The largest cost in the budget comes from one-time expenses, which total $2.1 million. This includes an incentive for the Hilton Garden Inn and Texoma Event Center for $1.55 million for infrastructure upgrades.

After accounting for expenses, the budget lists $1.6 million for new incentive projects. The budget is expected to be taken to the City Council for final approval in September.

In other actions, the DDA approved an extension of its incentive agreement with Ruiz Foods by six months. In June of last year, the DDA agreed to a series of cash payments of 2.2 percent of the net increase of the base taxable payroll for five years, up to a total of $150,000. The extension is due to a delay in the setup of payroll at the facility, said Kaai.


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