EDC leader praises local successes

By Matt Ward —

Despite the challenges of finding an adequate labor force in the city, Tim Lehmberg, executive director of the Gillespie County Economic Development Commission, reported Fredericksburg’s economy remains strong, thanks in part to healthy revenues in 2013.

Lehmberg presented his findings to the Fredericksburg City Council Monday evening during their regular session.

Local economy strong

After presenting the council with a longer, detailed written report Thursday, Lehmberg offered an overview of his findings for the local economy in 2013.

City sales tax revenue is up around seven percent through November, Lehmberg said, adding that he expects final lodging receipt numbers to break a record.

Through the first nine months of 2013, city gross lodging receipts are up about 14 percent over the same period in 2012.

Lehmberg said that while the total number of building permits issued by the city remained unchanged in 2013 from 2012, the total dollar amount permits issued was up 72 percent with a 168 percent increase in commercial building due to the new county jail, hotels, Price Chevrolet and several bed and breakfast complexes.

“Unemployment continues to be really low,” Lehmberg said, noting that Gillespie County’s 3.8 percent unemployment for November 2013 was well below the statewide average of 5.8 percent.

He noted that around 477 new job opportunities will likely await applicants in 2014 with the development of new businesses in the area, in addition to over 200 jobs currently available in the community.

“Finding workers for all those opportunities will likely be one of our greatest challenges,” Lehmberg said. 

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