The Business Advisory Board (BAB) is made up of city business owners and community leaders who partner with Salt Lake City’s Department of Economic Development. Its members are appointed by the mayor and must be SLC residents and/or have ownership interest in a Salt Lake City business. BAB helps direct city economic policy, promotes small business growth, supports local entrepreneurs, and encourages businesses to relocate to our city.

As part of an ongoing effort to keep SLC’s business community in the loop, the BAB is blogging synopses of our monthly meetings here. (Recordings are available to the public as well.)

The Business Advisory Board’s July meeting was canceled, but we were back with a meaty agenda on August 9th. Let’s not bury the lead: As summer winds down, and folks consider sneaking in one last vacation, the BAB discussed how you can leave the country without leaving the state AND have it benefit your business…

Salt Lake City Foreign Trade Zone

Foreign Trade Zones (FTZs) are federally-designated secure locations within the U.S. that are considered outside the scope of U.S. commerce. That means, for Customs Duty purposes, goods admitted to an FTZ are treated as though it was located outside the country. An FTZ can be a smart business move if you import and export goods and/or combine foreign goods with domestic goods, adding value through assembly, manufacturing, packaging, etc.

Salt Lake City is the grantee for the FTZ covering Northern Utah, and our FTZ is a renewed focus for the Department of Economic Development (DED) because SLC DED Deputy Director Ben Kolendar has a wealth of international trade experience and expertise. The U.S. FTZ program has been around since the Great Depression and is supported by city resources in partnership with governing organizations like U.S. Customs and the Department of Commerce. It can defer, reduce or eliminate duty and federal excise taxes.

Businesses can apply for membership and to locate within SLC FTZ 30, which is 55 acres adjacent to the Union Pacific Intermodal Terminal, OR submit a special subzone application to be located within a 60-mile radius or 90-minute drive from the FTZ.

Currently, the City Council is reviewing the DED’s recommendations for an updated FTZ framework and pricing structure. This month the BAB voted to send a statement to City Council in support of the DED’s proposal. Once approved by City Council, the framework will go on to the federal government for review and approval before implementation.

Annual Open Meetings Training Completed

As you know, these monthly meetings are always open to the public and recordings are available as well. Every year around this time, the BAB also receives a training with reminders and tips on protocol for how best to conduct open meetings. This year, that training led to a robust discussion of governance as well as the roles and duties of the board and its subcommittees. The BAB remains committed to full transparency and collaboration.

BAB Homelessness Subcommittee Proceeds

For several months the BAB has worked on the protocol for the formation of a subcommittee focused on Homelessness. The subcommittee will gather business community feedback and help determine how we can best address homelessness and its impact on the city. The following BAB members have been appointed to the subcommittee: Lucy Cardenas, Casey McDonough, Ana Valdemoros, Greg Yerkes and Curtis Thornhill.

Committee members intend to report back to the full BAB next month with recommendations for the scope and activities of the subcommittee as well as suggestions for additional members whose service would prove helpful to these goals.

Upcoming Events

The City is teaming up with Local First Utah to host the 2017 Independent Business Conference on Tuesday, Sept. 12th. This first-of-its-kind, one-day business conference will bring together small business owners, community organizers and economic development professionals to “Build A City of Neighborhoods.”

You also don’t want to miss the Downtown Merchants Association’s Save Energy, Save Money, Save the Planet on Thursday, Aug. 31st. This event is free and open to the public.

Farewell, Liz Jackson

On a personal note, the BAB wishes to express a fond farewell to Liz Jackson, who has served as an ex-officio member since 2014. Liz has been a wonderful advocate for businesses and force for progress here in Salt Lake City. She’s been an integral part of the Downtown Alliance and Seven Canyons Trust, and most recently, Liz has served as the Business Development & Outreach Manager at the University of Utah. Our loss is Park City’s gain, and we wish her every success in the future!

See you in September, See you when the summer’s through…

(I’ve been waiting all year to use that one.)

Curtis Thornhill
BAB Secretary & Apt Marketing Solutions CEO