Defining Economic Development Partnership | SteamboatToday.com

Defining Economic Development Partnership

Jerry Raehal

— When Tim Gibbs resigned as executive director of the Economic Development Partnership in April, questions swirled as to whether EDP would stay in existence.

In June, the EDP Board of Directors agreed the group would move forward, and broke off into subcommittees to examine where EDP is at, and where it needs to go.

At Friday’s EDP meeting at the Holiday Inn, on the board’s agenda was figuring out how to do just that, as well as regain the confidence of the Craig City Council and Moffat County Board of County Commissioners – two entities board members agreed were critical to EDP’s future.

Though debate ranged from when to start the search for a new executive director to starting a possible project for an industrial park, the first step the board agreed is to define EDP’s mission statement and goals.

Former Craig Mayor Dave DeRose compared the process to the City Council or county commissioners taking oaths to uphold certain principals when first entering office.

The mission statement and goals, he said, would be EDP’s oath, saying everyone on the board would need to sign it and uphold it.

Recommended Stories For You

“The problem previously is that it seems like we have had many different goals,” EDP board member Nadine Daszkiewicxz said. “: If we get our goals set down, and somebody comes in and wants to go a different direction, we can tell them no.”

The board plans to look at a final mission statement and goals at its 11 a.m. July 25 meeting at the Holiday Inn of Craig.

Council, commissioners

The board also agreed to hold off meetings with the City Council or the commissioners to update where EDP is at until the group has a more defined vision.

“I think we’re rushing to present to the city,” board member Jerry Thomson said. “We have had some committees that have done some work : but I think there is more steps that we need to take.”

A theme throughout the meeting was how critical it is to have the support of the two government entities.

Joe Herod, an ex officio EDP board member and a city councilman, said that while he could not speak for other city councilors, he was pleased with EDP’s direction.

“I’ve had more good feelings about EDP over the last three months than I did over the last year and a half,” he said.

Several EDP board members expressed frustration at the lack of representation by county commissioners at EDP meetings.

“If we can’t get the city and the county on board, then we need to change our direction and become a volunteer organization,” EDP President Scott Cook said, noting he didn’t think the group would be as effective in the latter scenario.

Incentives

Part of defining itself means fully knowing what EDP can offer.

The EDP board agreed to bring in representatives to discuss the economic development incentives that the state of Colorado offers, and possibly some other area people for advice.

Daszkiewicxz said that when looking at other cities and counties’ economic development programs, almost all of the incentives offered were state based.

The board is hoping to set the incentives meeting in the next month and plans to invite the City Council and county commissioners.

Who will lead?

Board member Marianna Raftopoulos spearheaded the effort to write the draft of a job description for the executive director position – a task that had never previously been done.

Certain requirements outlined in the 2 1/2-page job description include living within Moffat County in a specified time frame, and getting the director to meet with local businesses within the first 90 days.

When to hire a new director was a matter of much debate.

Cook said it is important to get a director in as soon as possible, so EDP can be as effective sooner rather than later.

“Every month that we wait, it’s another month before we can get someone in here,” he said, noting that a job search would probably take five to six months.

Others agreed a director is needed, but not before other steps are taken.

“Until we have some direction, (the City Council and county commissioners) are going to be opposed to a director,” Thomson said. “: We need an executive director, but we don’t need him today.”

Other action items

• Approved to take down old EDP Web site dated back to 2002. Bryce Jacobson, Craig Daily Press publisher, agreed to take down old site, and put up an under construction page in its place with EDP information and links to city agencies. The EDP will then start a bid process for a new Web site design.

• Investigate a possible partnership with the city in developing the 17 acres west of the Public Safety Center into an industrial park and get background information on the land.