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.)

While we deemed it too early in the morning for sparkling cider, the Business Advisory Board joined Mayor Biskupski and the City Council in celebrating Salt Lake’s many accomplishments of 2017, including last night’s approval of the five-year housing plan, “Growing SLC.”

We’re also making some New Year’s resolutions for ways we can strengthen our board and better serve local businesses in 2018.

Looking Forward to 2018 and Beyond

The Department of Economic Development (DED) is currently reviewing and revising the ordinance that governs the Business Advisory Board. It has determined board composition should be balanced not just by geography (City Council Districts) as it is now, but also by economic sectors. For example, we want to be sure the interests of the dining/entertainment industry are represented within the BAB.

While discussing the ordinance review process, the board began a conversation about self-governance. How can we best document policies and procedures to ensure the organization is efficient and sustainable in the years to come? We’ll want to tackle things like officers’ roles and responsibilities and when/how to create subcommittees. This will be an open and ongoing discussion that is especially timely as we prepare to elect our chair and vice chair at the upcoming January meeting. 

Serving & Empowering Local Businesses

The BAB will be working with Economic Development and the Mayor’s office in early 2018 to plan and publicize an event specifically for small business owners. The location and time are TBD, but it will likely be scheduled for an evening in February. The Mayor and her team plan to be in attendance.

The Homelessness Subcommittee has been compiling resources for businesses interested in working to alleviate homelessness. The list of opportunities is organized around three central themes: Hire (in partnership with Operation Rio Grande’s “Dignity of Work” initiative), Support and Give. It is currently constructed as a blog post, but may be repurposed and expanded as needed. The Economic Development team can use the content as they see fit, and we are also happy to share it with other interested agencies and organizations. It is a living, breathing document; we’d welcome input.

The BAB knows local businesses have been disproportionately impacted by the homelessness issue. At this time of year, when we are more intentionally grateful for all we have, the board is especially thankful for you. The Salt Lake business community is a force for progress in our region, our neighborhoods, and in the lives of our most vulnerable residents.

Heads Up: Business Personal Property Tax Info & News

The Business Personal Property Tax is an ongoing topic of concern and conversation for BAB. Last month, the DED featured it in a blog post for small business owners, noting that some states are moving away from Tangible Personal Property (TPP) tax. The tax was recently discussed in a subcommittee at the State Capitol, and changes may be considered in the upcoming legislative session.

Economic Development Updates

The Economic Development team is moving forward in the Workforce Development Manager hiring process. It is also looking to add two coordinators to the team who will serve horizontally across the growing unit.

Economic Development continues to lend support to Operation Rio Grande’s third phase as needed.

City Council Updates

As mentioned above, City Council adopted a comprehensive housing plan last night that focuses on affordability and equal opportunity. It is the city’s first in 16 years, and all parties are eager to proceed with this framework in place.

Earlier in the month, Council recommended to hire 50 new police officers in 2018 to bolster neighborhood patrol efforts. The first could be on the job as early as June. This is a significant increase over other recommendations and will likely require a tax increase, bonding or alternate funding source.

The Business Advisory Board offers heartfelt thanks to departing Council Chairman Stan Penfold and Councilwoman Lisa Adams for their service to the entire city and to the 3rd and 7th Districts, respectively. We wish them every success in their future endeavors!

Tidings of Comfort & Joy!

As we bid farewell to 2017, the BAB would like to take one last opportunity to thank you for all you do to make Salt Lake City a strong, vibrant, welcoming community! We look forward to working with you in 2018.

Happy Holidays & All the Best in the New Year,

Curtis Thornhill

BAB Secretary & Apt Marketing Solutions CEO