“Since the pandemic started, many of our businesses have been in crisis mode,” said Shontel Mays, president and CEO of the Pflugerville Chamber of Commerce.
Mays joined Amy Madison, the executive director of the Pflugerville Community Development Corp., and Pflugerville Assistant Planning Director Jeremy Frazzell for an Aug. 11 virtual panel on the economic status of the city. Each acknowledged the financial concerns brought about by the pandemic as well as how different city entities have navigated current and long-term development efforts.
Aiding local business
The chamber partnered with PCDC in establishing the Pflugerville Pfund in April, a program enacted to provide financial support to local businesses impacted by COVID-19. To date, the fund raised $107,000 that was then awarded to area businesses in need.
“We really appreciate the efforts the chamber made to make $107,000 worth of awards to small businesses,” Madison said.
Attracting new opportunities
As part of its mission in attracting prospective development projects, the PCDC and the city worked to bring Amazon to the city’s workforce, a partnership that was formally announced July 14 following months of speculation.
Amazon is expected to be operational in August 2021, Madison said, and will bring 1,000 jobs alongside it. An estimated $1.38 million in taxes will be paid in the first year on the $250 million investment by Amazon, which will lead to a $13.38 million increase on city tax rolls in a 10-year period.
Madison commended joint efforts between the PCDC and city staff in bringing Amazon to town. Frazzell said the project is just one example of city development initiatives underway.
Supporting the workforce
With prominent 3D manufacturing operations located in Pflugerville, the PCDC partnered with the Texas Workforce Commission in establishing a high-demand job training grant program known as the Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy. The PCDC and TWC each contributed $150,000 grants to the program to bolster the city’s manufacturing and distribution of personal protective equipment amid the pandemic.
“Why not start a Pflugerville Manufacturing Academy in the middle of a pandemic?” Madison said.
With Austin Community College’s in-person offerings suspended due to the pandemic, the PCDC partnered with local manufacturing employers for on-site training with high-tech equipment—a first for the city, Madison said.
Ensuring future development
When the coronavirus pandemic hit, Frazzell said city leadership wanted to ensure the continuation of development projects and initiatives while also adhering to social distancing provisions. Frazzell noted the city’s planning requests have increased from fiscal year 2018-19 to the current fiscal year despite the pandemic.
The Pflugerville Planning Department transitioned to 100% virtual operations in late March due to the pandemic and has since hosted virtual meetings with prospective developers. Frazzell said the city has not noted a decrease in development activity or responses from prospective clients.
During FY 2018-19, the planning department recorded five proposed subdivision plans, 14 certified subdivision plans and 23 site developments between Oct. 1 and Aug. 7. During the same timespan in FY 2019-20, it received 15 proposed subdivision plans, 28 certified subdivision plans and 27 site developments.
From a building perspective, 785 residential permits were submitted to the city in FY 2018-19 between October and July versus 505 in FY 2019-20. Within Pflugerville’s extraterritorial jurisdiction, 490 residential permits were submitted in FY 2018-19 versus 564 in the current fiscal year.
Heading into the 2040 comprehensive planning process, Frazzell said a focal point for city staff and Pflugerville City Council will be evaluating city growth trends and analyzing both the city’s vision for the future and how to sustainably achieve those goals.
“We help to create those visions and create the community into something everybody can be proud of,” Frazzell said.
Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional information provided by the Pflugerville Community Development Corp. on Amazon's tax contributions to the city of Pflugerville.