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.)

At our October 11th meeting, the Business Advisory Board was briefed on so many pro-business initiatives we literally ran out of time to hear about them all, but that just gives us something to look forward to in November.

A New Advocate for Small Business

BAB members welcomed the Department of Economic Development’s newest addition, Local Business and Entrepreneurship Manager Roberta Reichgelt. Roberta is a world traveler with a background in international economic development and higher education. But most recently, she came from Salt Lake Community College where she brought education and industry leaders together to provide workforce training to fill skill gaps in Utah’s labor force.

Roberta will be directing small business initiatives, providing services and advocating for policy changes that improve Salt Lake City’s business climate. What does that look like day to day? Hands-on assistance for businesses in need, including individualized help with recruitment and retention as well as guidance in taking full advantage of the Economic Development Load Fund and other DED programs.

Other Economic Development Highlights

The staff also briefed the board on progress in the revitalization efforts of our two nationally recognized Main Street America neighborhoods. Granary District community leaders were meeting to discuss their visions for the area. This will be followed by the formation of work groups to undertake the functional planning and execution. State Street is currently conducting initial conversations to bring businesses on board and get stakeholders engaged.

Over the next month, DED staff will be revising the ordinance governing the Business Advisory Board and reviewing applications from prospective BAB members. Updates will be provided at our November meeting.

SLC Wants You to Pick the Pickle

The National Trust for Historic Preservation and American Express selected Salt Lake City as one of just 25 cities vying for this year’s Partners in Preservation: Main Street grants. Our project is the restoration and renovation of the historic Utah Pickle Company building in the Granary District. Grants are awarded based on nationwide online voting. If our Pickle Project is a top vote-getter, we will receive $150,000 to bring local creative business collective Studio Elevn into a revitalized Utah Pick Company building with much-needed event space, a media production studio, flex office spaces for local artists and entrepreneurs, and a community garden.

Head on over to now and Pick the Pickle. You can vote every day from now through October 31st!

Redevelopment Agency Offers Tax Increment Reimbursement Program

The RDA came to explain the ins and outs of a tax incentive program designed to encourage investment and increase property values in designated project areas. Once approved to participate in the program, a company must fully fund capital costs of a new facility or upgrades to an existing facility before receiving a tax reimbursement. Participating businesses do well by doing good because a portion of tax revenues are allocated to the RDA to be deployed within their neighborhood (e.g. project area).

Salt Lake County Assessor Shines Light on Business Personal Property Taxes

At an earlier BAB meeting, a question came up about why the Business Personal Property Tax seems to focus on capital-intensive businesses. Salt Lake County Assessor Kevin Jacobs was invited to respond. Kevin explained that all tangible assets are taxed as codified in the state constitution, and any change would require new legislation. For example, while it might seem to make sense to include intellectual property in the valuation of a business, doing so can create a disproportionate valuation and undue tax burden. This agenda item was an excellent opportunity for BAB members to talk with the County Assessor’s team and to gain a better understanding of property assessment.

SLC Police Talk Parking Ordinance Review

The general consensus is that parking ordinances have become lengthy and difficult to navigate. The city has engaged consulting firm Clarion Associates to review this portion of the land use code with the goal of streamlining parking ordinances, increasing flexibility and easing administrative burden. Clarion will be publishing a survey for the general public to collect community input before synthesizing recommendations. A draft of the revised ordinances is anticipated to be available early next year for review and comment before being sent to City Council for consideration.

Economic Development Toolbox Tease

As promised last month, Salt Lake City’s permitting portal OpenCounter is up and running, providing your one-stop shop for all things zoning/site selection, permits and licensing. It’s never been easier to start or expand your business in Salt Lake.

At next month’s BAB meeting, the DED will solicit feedback on existing and potential new products and services Salt Lake City can offer to help local businesses. This can be everything from streamlining technology like OpenCounter to tools and communication channels that can raise awareness of financial resources (grants, loans, etc.) in and around the city.

Got a great idea? Bring it to next month’s meeting: Wednesday, November 8th, at 8:30 a.m. in the City and County Building, Room 326, 451 South State St.


Until November,

Curtis Thornhill
BAB Secretary & Apt Marketing Solutions CEO