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DCOA names new CEO at Tuesday meeting [Abilene Reporter-News, Texas :: ]
[July 30, 2014]

DCOA names new CEO at Tuesday meeting [Abilene Reporter-News, Texas :: ]

(Abilene Reporter-News (TX) Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) July 30--ABILENE, Texas - The Development Corporation of Abilene voted unanimously on Tuesday to select former Big Country resident R. Kent Sharp as its new chief executive officer.

Sharp, now of Gainesville, will succeed Richard Burdine, who retired as CEO on Feb. 28 but has led the corporation on an interim basis since then.

Sharp, who begins working Sept. 8, will have an annual base salary of $150,000. A portion of his medical insurance will be paid by the city and he will receive a $50 monthly cellphone stipend.

Taxpayers will also cover two house-hunting trips and moving expenses, not to exceed $10,000.

"I am very excited to join the economic development team in Abilene, and my family and I are looking forward to coming to the community," Sharp said in a prepared statement.

DCOA chairman David Copeland said Sharp "brings an outstanding track record of success in economic development in Texas and we look forward to his leadership in the years to come." Sharp is leaving Gainesville, where he has been director of the Gainesville Economic Development Corporation, Inc., a 4B corporation.

The DCOA is a 4A corporation that administers Abilene's half-cent sales tax for economic development. A 4B corporation has more leeway on spending tax funds on public improvement projects.

Sharp has led economic development organizations in Big Spring, Stamford and Shamrock.

The Texas Christian University graduate was one of five finalists chosen by a search committee for the CEO spot.

Waverly Partners, the company chosen to conduct the search, chose 20 potential candidates on May 5. On May 9, it had whittled that list down to nine.

Two finalists met with the board, the city and others in early July.

The board on Tuesday also extended Burdine's interim contract until Aug. 29 to provide a transition period with the new CEO. The cost will be $17,803.

In other business, Burdine reported sales tax revenue for the corporation so far this year is down 2.37 percent from the last fiscal year. Sales tax revenue this July is down 4 percent from July 2013, which represents May sales.

The council also approved the exploration of debt options for the expansion of a facility to be used by CarbonLITE Recycling, LLC. Members discussed the issuance of bonds or making a deal with local banks to secure funds. DCOA's budget for that entire project is $11.9 million.

Imperial Construction, of Weatherford, was recommended to members for the work at the building at Five Points Business Park. The plastic bottle recycling plant is expected to create more than 100 jobs.

___ (c)2014 Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas) Visit the Abilene Reporter-News (Abilene, Texas) at Distributed by MCT Information Services

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