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 BAB meeting was on Wednesday, April 11, the BABs first Spring meeting of 2018.

City Council Updates

The City Council is considering an increased sales tax and thoughtfully weighing concerns about an increase with the need for road repairs and safety as well as other funding options.  The Council has been receiving public input, including from the Downtown Alliance, and there is a public hearing scheduled for next Tuesday.  Council is considering a vote, as a one month delay of a sales tax increase could cost the City more than two million dollars.

This is also budget season and the City Council has heard from the Airport and Public Services and will be hearing from all departments in the coming weeks.  Public hearings for budget input are tentatively scheduled for late May/early June.

Economic Development Updates

The Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development (DED) and the BAB welcomed a new Projects Coordinator, Liesl Limburg, to the team.  Roberta Reichgelt did not have an update on the upcoming Mayor’s Event for Small Business, although, one should be coming soon.

The DED updated the BAB on the new Opportunity Zones which provide tax incentive for investment in areas given Opportunity Zone that are designated by the chief executive of every U.S. state and territory.  Each state’s Governor is allowed to designate 25% of Opportunity Zone eligible areas (based upon low-income census tract data) as Opportunity Zones.

The entire process has moved very quickly as States were given fewer than 90 days to gather public input, determine criteria, make recommendations and ultimately designate Opportunity Zones.  The State of Utah has 181 eligible areas, of which the Governor may select 46.  Salt Lake City identified and submitted recommendations to Salt Lake County, all of which were adopted as recommendations to the State.  In all, Salt Lake County recommended 26 areas to the State, 14 of which are in Salt Lake City.  We will see in the very near future what the Governor and the State decide.

Board Member Announcements

The Business Advisory Board is excited to announce and welcome two new members.  Darin Piccoli and Kestrel Liedtke are both local business owners.  Their knowledge, expertise and voice will be welcome additions to the BAB and we are all very much looking forward to working with both of them.

Special Assessment Areas in Salt Lake City

Jesse Dean from the Downtown Alliance and city attorney Boyd Ferguson dropped by the BAB to discuss Special Assessment Areas (SAA’s) which was very interesting and informative.  SAA’s assess a special assessment (similar to a tax) in a designated geographic area within the City.  That assessment can be used in a number of ways.  Economic promotion, sidewalks, curb and gutter, lighting, and environmental remediation are a few good examples.  One fascinating and useful fact to know about SAA’s is that the special assessment is not to exceed the benefit gained.  For example, a business in a Special Assessment Area would not be expected to pay more for an assessment than they receive from the benefit of that assessment.

Westside Engagement and Economic Vitality

Before adjourning a few minutes early (the only time that had happened to the knowledge of anyone present), there was a brainstorming effort and discussion as to how to improve the economic vitality and engagement in the west side of Salt Lake City.  A few of the ideas that came up were to engage with the River Business District Alliance, reach out to KRCL with regards to their Day in the Park and Juneteenth Celebration, and the possibility of coffee shop(s) in Rose Park, Poplar Grove, Glendale and on North Temple.