At their meeting this week, the Lubbock City Council heard from a number of people that disagreed with a decision made by the City’s economic development organization.

Some citizens, including two men that owned different printing businesses, spoke out against the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance for awarding $64,500 in incentives to Copy Craft Printers for an expansion that is expected to add 20 new positions to the company.

Ron Peters, who owns Craftsman Printers in Lubbock, spoke out against the incentive to his competitors, saying “now all of the sudden, we’ve got a competitor that’s financed with tax money.”

Parks Printing Company’s founder Don Parks also voiced his displeasure with the incentive as well. “All of us in our professional and business lives have fierce competitors…and that’s okay, as long as it’s a level playing field.”

“They are rewarding a company to create jobs that aren’t there…the only way the recipient of this public money is going to provide more jobs is by raiding their competition’s workforce,” Parks continued.

Copy Craft’s plan is to purchase a building in the 6000 block of 45th Street, and the expansion is expected to result in a $5 million capital investment. In addition to the $64,500 for job creation incentives, LEDA also approved a capital investment incentive of $150,000 as well.

The Council had an item on the work session agenda to discuss the LEDA budget and other activities, but chose to take no action on the item.

District 3 Councilman Todd Klein weighed in, saying “I’ve grown to the point where I can’t support tax abatements, because you are picking winners and losers. I think our real need is to keep taxes and regulations, energy, as affordable as possible.”

Others chose to highlight other costs with LEDA, including the costs of running the organization.

Regarding Market Lubbock and LEDA, citizen and taxpayer watchdog Mikel Ward said “together those two entities are taking in revenue from our taxes of $8.4 million.”

Ward elaborated, saying “I think it’s telling that if you add in the salaries and benefits between the two entities…it’s like $1.6 million for salary and benefits for fifteen people. The CFO, nothing against the man, but he’s making within a very thousand dollars of what our city manager makes, who is managing a heck of a lot more, money wise, departments, and responsibilities, than they have any possibility of doing.”

LEDA will discuss these issues and their general budget with the City Council at their meeting on August 30th.

The first public hearing on the proposed tax rate for 2012-2013 was held as well, with a few coming out against the increase. The second public hearing for the proposed tax rate, as well as the first public hearing on the budget will be held at their meeting on August 30th as well.

More on the proposed tax rate, which will be voted on by the Council on September 13th, is available here.