Kilgore Council OKs Reinvestment Zone for Planned Skeeter Expansion

Feb 06, 2023
Lucas Strough

KILGORE — The Kilgore City Council has unanimously approved a motion to designate a reinvestment zone for a recently announced expansion by Skeeter Boats.

Lisa Denton, Kilgore Economic Development Corp. executive director, brought an ordinance before the council and explained it is just a beginning move in Skeeter’s plan.

“This is the recorded and approved subdivision plat for what is now known as North Kilgore Industrial Properties, formerly the Halliburton site,” Denton said. “We sub-divided that 55-acre lot into two tracts: lot one being 11.915 acres and the remainder being 43.215 acres.”

KEDC and Skeeter recently announced a purchase/sale agreement and economic development performance agreement to support the 75-year-old boat manufacturer’s purchase of the former Halliburton site on FM 349.

Developments under the deal will stretch across the coming decade as the company invests in two facilities and adds more than 90 jobs for an estimated 25% increase in capacity.

“(The ordinance) is to establish a reinvestment zone for consideration of a tax abatement that is planned to come before you Feb. 20, which is when we’ll give all the details on the project,” Denton told the council. “This is just to establish the zone to allow for the abatement.”

With the passage of the ordinance, the former Halliburton site becomes known as city of Kilgore Reinvestment Zone No. 6.

In Texas, a reinvestment zone allows for a certain percentage of property taxes collected for a specific site to be used for further developments at that site.

Also, creating the zone allows the city to offer Skeeter a tax abatement in return for the company’s growth, which is expected to economically benefit Kilgore.

When Halliburton announced the closure of its Kilgore facility amid the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, not only were hundreds of local jobs lost, but tax revenue for the city was negatively impacted.

The Skeeter expansion is planned to allow that company to grow, produce more boats and hire more workers. The company recently marked its 75th anniversary and has employed thousands of local workers since opening its Kilgore facility in the early 1970s.