The first “virtual” quarterly meeting of the Greater New Braunfels Economic Development Foundation was held on April 21 via Zoom Conference.
2020 Chairman Tim Zipp called the meeting to order at 12:04 p.m. He noted for participants that this was the first time in the history of the organization that an all-virtual meeting was held. Zipp noted the health crisis has created an economic crisis and that the Foundation was well-suited to help in the recovery for the community. He noted several upcoming opportunities to help in that recovery, including PNC Bank now hiring for their customer call center, groundbreaking for the Continental automotive manufacturing plant, and a new Horizons Learning Center opening in the former Herald-Zeitung on Landa Street.
Zipp thanked Presenting Sponsor MGC Contractors, as well as Event Sponsors Cadence McShane, Byrne Construction, and SpawGlass. Zipp also thanked Table Sponsors Pape Dawson, Douglas Architects, M&S Engineering, Jones Carter, NBU, and Cemex.
Zipp noted that prior to the pandemic, NBU was dealing with massive growth and change associated with being located in America’s second fastest-growing city and county. Over $500 million in capital infrastructure is planned. Zipp introduced NBU CEO Ian Taylor for his presentation on the financial health of NBU amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taylor’s presentation included his organization’s response to the pandemic, their financial health, rates, as well as a look ahead. He noted the four new priorities of NBU post-Covid to be safety, continuity of service, employee mental health and wellness, and financial health. The organization’s revenue is at risk with decreased usage of water, sewer and electricity, coupled with less growth and customers not able to pay their bills. NBU utilized situational awareness, modeling and forecasting, preserving liquidity, and decisions on what to continue, delay or cancel regarding operating expenses, capital equipment, and capital projects.
Taylor noted that by ordinance NBU manages and operates their systems similar to a board of directors of a private corporation but with a public service mission which prioritizes service and reliability instead of profit. Taylor showed charts proving the reliability and affordability of their system to customers versus other areas. Looking ahead, Taylor noted forecasts on the severity of the pandemic, the reentry of the community to some level of normalcy, and future policies.