Local Businesspeople Form Group to Promote Small Businesses
HALTOM CITY, TX, February 08, 2022 /24-7PressRelease/ — Sometimes even local politicians lose touch with the people they are supposed to represent. According to the group of local businesspeople who formed Haltom United Business Alliance, that’s what has happened in Haltom City, a community of 45,000 near Fort Worth.
“Haltom City Council could be doing a better job of representing the interests of the city’s working people and the small family-owned businesses that are the city’s backbone, and we want to help them reconnect,” said HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer.
“Not a single Haltom City Council member has ever owned a small business, particularly not one that involves getting your hands a little dirty,” said HUBA member and longtime Haltom City businessperson Ron Sturgeon. The council did a major rewrite of the codes in 2002, making it much harder for small businesses to come to Haltom City or to grow here, and essentially putting many kinds of small businesses on notice that they were not welcome in Haltom City, he added. Since then, Haltom City has moved from 20 (of 42) as ranked by population growth, to number 32. So, 75% of the other cities in Tarrant County are growing faster than Haltom City.
“The City Council isn’t very diverse in either its thinking or its composition,” said Sturgeon. “None of the members have small business ownership experience that includes real responsibility for profit and loss, and the only Hispanic member of City Council was term limited out, even though Haltom City is approximately 45% Hispanic and has a significant Asian population, according to Datausa.com,” said Sturgeon.
“A lot of members of both of those communities own and run important small businesses in Haltom City, and their interests are not being looked after right now,” said Sturgeon. “The council fails to recognize that the needs in the declining central and southern parts of the city are different from those in the newer northern areas,” he adds.
“I think some of members of the Haltom City Council look down on blue-collar businesses, places like tire shops, auto body shops, lube shops, even though they have been part of Haltom City for decades and Haltom City residents want, use and even work for them,” said Sturgeon.
“The city started passing ordinances in the late 90s that have made it incredibly hard to open a small business, especially an automotive business, which is the lifeblood of the residents for products, services and employment,” Sturgeon added.
“Ever since the changes Haltom City Council voted for 6 to1 last year, being able to open these kinds of blue-collar businesses, even in industrial and heavy industrial areas of Haltom City, takes extra approvals, extra hearings and months of added time because the City Council isn’t listening to the regular folks who live and work here,” said Sturgeon, who started his first Haltom City business nearly 50 years ago, an automotive repair shop.
“A lot of businesses that want to open in Haltom City ultimately decide not to because of how business unfriendly Haltom City Council has made it here,” said Sturgeon.
As an example, Sturgeon cited a business owner who wanted to open a store to sell car stereos, trailer hitches, radar detectors and other auto accessories on Denton Highway in Haltom City. Even though the area was zoned for retail, the city rejected the proposal because it was automotive related, and the store went just east to North Richland Hills, on Rufe Snow.
As another example of the way auto-related businesses face extra scrutiny, Sturgeon cited the experience of a small businessperson trying to open an exotic auto detail shop in an area of Haltom City with industrial zoning. Even though uses such as heavy truck repair, a bus barn, and a welding shop can open without additional hearings in that area, the owner of the proposed detail shop had to answer questions from City Council about his plans for controlling auto exhaust fumes and his program for storing the fluids he would use in the business, as he endured 2 months of public hearings.
“Some members of Haltom City Council have lost touch with Haltom City’s blue-collar roots,” said Sturgeon. “The council members occasionally mention Colleyville or Southlake, but Haltom City is not Colleyville, and the people who live and work here don’t want it to be,” said Sturgeon.
“For sure, parts of Haltom City are thriving, and it is a city with big potential,” said Sturgeon. “It’s also a city with a significant number of vacant and boarded up commercial properties, and we want to see new small businesses coming in to fill those spaces and add to the business tax base in Haltom City.” HUBA has offered to work with the city to create a mentoring program for start ups that require a conditional use permit to open in Haltom City, but the city or the council has not acted to take the offer.
HUBA is building its membership and wants to hear from you if you own a business in Haltom City. Membership in HUBA is completely confidential. To get in touch with HUBA, contact HUBA Communications Director Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or email HUBAgrp@gmail.com.
About Haltom United Business Alliance
Haltom United Business Alliance (HUBA) wants to give members of Haltom City’s business community an advocate and to keep those businesses informed about issues that affect them. They want to make sure Haltom City is business friendly and nurture small business growth, including automotive businesses, and bring more restaurants including breweries and a major grocery store to the city. New businesses and growth in existing businesses will create a stronger tax base which will allow the city to pay its first responders wages that are competitive with surrounding cities while improving Haltom City’s facilities and infrastructure. Anyone who owns a business in Haltom City is eligible to join. Dues are $20 annually or $50 for a lifetime membership, and membership is 100% confidential. To join, contact Joe Palmer at (682) 310-0591 or by email at HUBAgrp@gmail.com. Visit the group’s Facebook at Haltom United Business Alliance.
About Haltom City
Haltom City is a medium-sized city between Dallas and Fort Worth in Tarrant County, TX. The city is diverse and majority working class, with a growing population that is approximately 10% Asian-American and 45% Hispanic. Haltom City benefits from being only minutes from both DFW Airport and Downtown Fort Worth, with direct access to major highways including I-820 and SH-121. Small businesses that have historically provided products, services, and jobs to residents included a once thriving automotive industry. The city has seen a decline in small businesses, especially automotive businesses. The city is healthy financially, with median household income growing around 8% in the past year. Haltom City has opportunity for continued growth through undeveloped land and many vacant buildings, especially in major corridors close to the city’s center. The city has good staff and a city manager who is interested in seeing more businesses, but they can only do as directed by the council.
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