New Director of Economic Development alongside the City

July 5—McAlester’s new director of economic development, Adam White, joins the city.

White came on board in June to work with McAlester’s current director of economic development, Kirk Ridenour, who resigned to take a job in the private sector. With July 1 being Ridenour’s last day as the city’s economic developer, he had three weeks to catch up with White on the projects Ridenour worked on before White stepped into the role full-time.

“So many great things are happening, I can’t think of a better time,” White said of his arrival as the city’s new director of economic development right now. He comes to McAlester from his former position as director of economic development for the town of Eufaula.

During the transition period to his new position as McAlester’s Director of Economic Development, Ridenour and McAlester’s Director of Tourism, Billy Sumner, introduced White to the McAlester Chamber of Commerce and other individuals and organizations in the city.

White joins us as the city implements a new economic development funding mechanism, approved by City Council. It ties into the increased franchise fee revenue the city expects in part from the new cryptocurrency operation in place at the Steven Taylor Industrial Park.

In November 2021, city councilors agreed to sell 30 acres of land for $450,000 to MINEFFICIENCY, LLC, which planned to set up a Bitcoin cryptocurrency operation at the site.

As Ridenour described the city’s new economic development funding mechanism before stepping down as director, the city implemented a 2% franchise fee for electric utilities. It also has a 4% sales tax already in place for electric utilities sold in the city, with Public Service Co. of Oklahoma the service provider.

“We don’t charge any sales tax,” Ridenour said. The city currently receives about $450,000 in franchise annually, he said. This amount must also remain in place as is.

With additional franchise fees expected from the cryptocurrency operation brewing in the industrial park, the amount earmarked for the city’s economic development fund is 75% all on top of the $450,000 already raised.

The idea is to fund the money from the city’s economic development department with the additional franchise fees the city is expected to collect as the cryptocurrency operation in the Steven Taylor Industrial Park continues to grow.

Ridenour said having the new funding mechanism in place would help as the city continues to work on economic development projects as White becomes the department’s new director.

“I’m thrilled to see Adam taking over,” Ridenour said.

Contact James Beaty at [email protected]

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