Too many of SpaceX’s employees working in McGregor are living outside Waco and McLennan County for the company to meet requirements set in 2014 for a $3.3 million local economic development package.
One of the reasons the residency requirement has been difficult to achieve is because the Belton and Temple areas have had significant housing development, whereas Waco has not, said Kris Collins, senior vice president for economic development at the Greater Waco Chamber of Commerce.
“Given that we have some new housing developments announced for the county and Waco area, that could shift over time,” Collins said.
SpaceX entered a contract with the Waco- McLennan County Economic Development Corp. in December 2014 to add 300 jobs and make $46.3 million in capital improvements to the McGregor facility. Among other requirements in the deal for $3.3 million in incentives, 40 percent of new hires had to live in Waco and 80 percent had to live in McLennan County, Collins said.
The Waco City Council and McLennan County Commissioners Court agreed Tuesday to amendments to the deal.
SpaceX officials asked for the contract to be amended, while also proposing they meet a new requirement, she said.
The adjustment puts the residency requirement at 60 percent of new hires living in the county and 25 percent living in the city of Waco, Collins said. The company also offered to guarantee 5,000 hotel stays in Waco and McLennan County per year for the next three years. If the company does not hit that mark, it will reimburse the city and county the amount in hotel occupancy taxes that would cover the difference, she said. The 5,000 stays would generate about $35,000 for the city of Waco per year and $10,000 for the county, Collins said.
Twin Peaks spending
Also during their meeting Tuesday, commissioners agreed to move $5,200 out of countywide contingency to the Twin Peaks line item at the district attorney’s request. District Attorney Abel Reyna provided no specific information about what the added money is for, County Auditor Stan Chambers said.
County Commissioners agreed to put a placeholder in the fiscal year 2018 budget, which started Oct. 1, for costs associated with the 2015 shootout at the former Twin Peaks restaurant in Waco that left nine dead and 20 injured.
The county spent about $572,000 for sheriff’s deputies overtime during the first Twin Peaks trial, which ended in a mistrial. Some of that money also came from the countywide contingency line item, which was down from $1,016,000 at the start of the fiscal year to about $532,000 early this month.
The fiscal year started less than three months ago, and the county has depleted similar starting contingencies to about $11,000 or less in recent years.