Our View: A concerning matter

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Moffat County Commissioner Saed Tayyara has concerns about the Economic Development Partnership.

Tayyara, who helped found EDP in 1985, is concerned about the group's lack of results throughout the years.

He is concerned about the county and city's continued funding of EDP with little or no results to show from it.

He is worried about the county commissioners being pressured into future funding of EDP after the Craig City Council gave the EDP's new mission statement a green light.

He is concerned because he wants everyone to be on the same page, and he's afraid they're not. That is why he recently asked for a meeting among the commissioners, the City Council and the EDP Board of Directors.

The Editorial Board believes these are all valid concerns, and that a meeting with all the entities is appropriate.

However, we also believe it would be foolish to not continue funding EDP. At least at this time.

Various Craig Daily Press editorial boards, which rotate community members every three months, have been as critical of EDP's lack of results as anybody; however, we've also maintained that an effective EDP is critical to Craig and Moffat County's future.

The current Editorial Board's opinion on this stance is no different than previous boards.

Although some might contend that economic development is not needed during prosperous times, the Editorial Board believes that notion is simply wrong. When times are good in a boom-and-bust economy, such as Moffat County, that is the time EDP should be focusing on building an infrastructure that is not reliant on the booms and busts.

In other words, EDP can help create a more stable future.

And looking toward the future is what the Editorial Board believes the current EDP board has been doing.

After Tim Gibbs resigned as the EDP executive director in April, the EDP board members did something very hard - they took the proverbial mirror and looked at what was wrong.

They've researched and redefined who they are. The board is seemingly putting itself in charge of the future director as opposed to the director running them. They have an interim director in place, and they're looking at ways to advertise regionally.

In other words, they've learned from past mistakes, and putting together a plan for the future.

The Editorial Board applauds this effort.

But one might wonder why this time is different than the past.

The answer: Leadership.

And by that, we mean getting leadership from the City Council and County Commissioners.

Before funding is yanked from EDP, the council and commissioners need to give EDP tangible goals that need to be met. While some contend that it is hard to measure what EDP is doing, the editorial board disagrees.

You can count the number of businesses you've contacted, you can report on the progress of working with state and county entities to better the area, you can count the number of grants you are working and/or getting, and when all of that is said and done, you can count the number of businesses and employees EDP helped bring to the area.

At the aforementioned, yet-to-be-set meeting, that is exactly what the council and commissioners should do. Give EDP a set criteria. The council and commissioners can choose the measurable. It is the Editorial Board's opinion that this hasn't happened in the past, or it wasn't articulated loud enough, and this organization is too important to simply give up on.

And seemingly, the county commissioners have done little to help with the vision for EDP's future other than fund it. Although the City Council has had someone at EDP meetings, recently the county commissioners' seat at the table has been noticeably vacant.

Don't take this wrong. Tayyara and others have valid reasons to be concerned.

But it's more concerning to give up on an organization that, if run correctly, could redefine the future of the area.

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