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Jefferson County’s 2014 funding for EDC will have strings attached

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Eco-dev group will be required to provide work plan, quarterly reports

By Ramsey Scott

The Jeffco Economic Development Corp. is about to have a $300,000 funding agreement with the county finalized this week. 

The contract was delayed while the county commissioners and the EDC clarified two new provisions requiring the economic development group to submit a work plan for approval and to present quarterly reports to the commissioners. 

The EDC’s first quarterly check from the county this year for $75,000 had been held up while the commissioners decided what they wanted in a work plan and whether to accept the EDC’s Forward Jeffco Initiative as the plan for 2014. 

Forward Jeffco, a push to create 7,500 primary jobs and $900 million in disposable income in the county in the next five years, was launched by the EDC last year. The group had asked county commissioners in 2013 for an additional $100,000 investment for the initiative, but that request was denied. 

“We looked at year one as kind of the building blocks,” said EDC vice president Michelle Claymore. “The actual plan is putting a lot of things in place so we’re going to see a lot more benefit in the job creation toward the end of the five years instead of in the beginning.”

The action plan includes five separate initiatives with more than 25 action items. While Forward Jeffco represents a five-year plan, the EDC identified four goals for 2014:

• Increase business prospect activity by 20 percent.

• Reach out to 90 existing primary businesses to determine the benefits and drawbacks of doing business in the county.

• Integrate two members of the American Job Center team into the EDC’s existing business outreach. 

• Partner on an Inventors Showcase event to support start-up and existing technology companies in the county.

Commissioner Casey Tighe said that while he thinks the plan could generate even more benefits than predicted, he wanted to ensure the EDC provides context about the economic goals and how they’re being reached. 

“I would like to see going forward is, ‘What is the arch? What do you think the curve is and how we’re doing against the curve,’ ” Tighe said. “Each year we should see how we fit on that curve.”

The approval of the contract is scheduled to be on the commissioners’ consent agenda on Feb. 11. 

 

Contact Ramsey Scott at ramsey@evergreenco.com or 303-933-2233, ext. 22, and follow him on Twitter @RamseyColumbine. Check www.columbinecourier.com for updates.