Why Does Carbon County Need an Economic Development Department?

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Carbon County Economic Development Press Release

Why do we need an Economic Development department in our County? This is a question many wonder and few take the time to ask.

An Economic Development Director is the individual hired to help retain and expand businesses already established in a community and businesses looking to relocate or start a new business within a community. Our Carbon County Economic Development Director, Tami Ursenbach, reports regularly to our commissioners on potential projects she is involved in and meetings she has attended.

Both Ursenbach and our commissioners also meet with different organizations and sit on several committees throughout the State to keep our county in the forefront amongst 28 other counties in Utah. It is important to stay in the mind of those individuals that are involved with helping companies move to Utah. Ursenbach and the commissioners have a strong voice in educating different departments of the State on the unique strengths of rural Utah compared to the Wasatch Front. It’s also critical to discover areas that we can improve to be more appealing to said companies.

One question asked is, why does it take so long to bring in new companies? We have a lot of positive strengths in our county such as being a transportation hub and strong work ethics. One of the challenges is not having the infrastructure in place where companies want to locate. Usually utilities are added with the demand from business. The County works closely with utility companies to increase services in as many areas as they will allow. By having utilities and roads in the right places, Carbon County is at the top of the list for companies looking to come into rural Utah.

One of the most common questions asked about economic development is, why are some company meetings kept secret? If our local government is involved, shouldn’t it be open to the public? Well to put it simply, no. There are many factors that make it impossible to share information about the projects they are working on. As an example: some companies insist on having non-disclosure agreements signed and others will not come to a community if anyone finds out about their company. Another reason is that some new businesses are concerned another company might come in and do the same type of work they are going to do or they fear local companies won’t let them come due to fear of competition.

One of the concerns larger companies share is the fear of insider trading. Insider trading happens when someone finds out about the developments of a company and quickly buys or sells stock. Insider trading is against the law.   The County is a supporter to companies but it is up to the individual companies to share information concerning their business.

The reason project names are given to companies looking at coming into the county is to help protect the company and at the same time, talk about the projects as much as possible. Currently, there are over 40 projects Ursenbach is working on. Project names do not identify the type of company and usually the names are created by the company. Ursenbach is willing to talk about the type of industry. Such as Project Pink is food processing and Project Operation Oasis is transportation.

Ursenbach has formed a local Economic Development Committee consisting entirely of members from our community and meets with this group monthly. It is important for people coming into the county to see us at our best.

“We have a few areas in the county we can improve on,” stated Ursenbach.

Due to specific county needs, several sub-committees have been formed. Customer service and beautification are two of the sub-committees that are receiving a lot of focus currently. Planning for the future of the county is also important so a strategic planning sub-committee has been created.

Currently, one of the beautification projects is landscaping the on/off ramps for exit 240 (where the hospital and hotels are) with crushed rock. The committee has worked diligently on this project because they understand the impact a first impression of a community can have for potential companies looking at our area as well as tourists.

“Our Economic Development Committee has been amazing.” said Ursenbach. “They have worked so hard and I can’t explain how much I appreciate each of them.”

Ursenbach is always open to talking with community members about their ideas for economic development.

“We have random community members who frequently stop by the office without an appointment to see Tami,” said Economic Development Administrative Assistant Rita Vigor. “If she is available, she will make time to meet with them or we set up an appointment on a different day. She is always excited to help people and businesses”.

For more information or to set a time to meet with Ursenbach, call (18435) 636-3295 or email rita.vigor@carbon.utah.gov