Craig/Moffat Economic Development Partnership funding up in the air
At the last Craig City Council meeting, council members approved the first reading of the city’s 2015 budget.
Audrey Danner, of the Craig/Moffat County Economic Development Partnership, was present at the meeting and appealed to the council for funding.
Danner asked for $35,000 each from the city of Craig and Moffat County.
CMEDP’s annual operating budget, which includes the partnership and the Marianna Raftopoulos Business Incubator, is $150,000. Last year, it received $25,000 from the city of Craig and $30,000 from Moffat County.
Danner was also able to procure a $10,000 grant from Shell Oil Company last year.
The last Craig City Council meeting adjourned without a decision on funding for economic development.
City Manager Jim Ferree said the decision will be made at the upcoming City Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 25.
Mayor Terry Carwile isn’t confident the council will provide funding for CMEDP.
“The council just feels that the return on the investment is just not there,” Carwile said. “I feel like we’re not getting the success that we need to get out of that particular relationship.”
Carwile said a few economic indicators are telling him that CMEDP isn’t working as he hopes it would.
“I wish I could say there was a direct link between the economic development partnership as it exists today and an increase in sales tax revenues,” Carwile said.
He also said enticing businesses to Craig should be a part of economic development, but doesn’t seem to be for CMEDP.
“None of the council members can recall a business or employer that’s been enticed to Craig, Colorado from our economic development efforts,” Carwile said. “I’m sure they’ll say that’s not their job, but that’s just an indication.”
Danner said it’s rare for a business to make a geographic move now compared to business environments in the past. She also said Craig and Moffat County officials have declined to provide incentives to businesses in the past.
“Nationally, companies are not moving around like they did approximately 10 years ago based on incentives,” Danner said.
She also said as far as she understands, a mid-size business has not relocated to Craig or Moffat County in the past 20 years.
Both the city and the county are operating under tighter budgets this year than last year, and although this could be a reason for both to re-consider funding CMEDP, Danner thinks the choice is obvious.
“Prioritizing the budget to include economic development makes sense,” Danner said.
Following the Memorial Day weekend, one of Moffat County’s signature events will be continuing into the summer.