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.)
BAB meeting on Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
City Council Updates
Russell Weeks updated the Business Advisory Board (BAB) on the work Salt Lake City Council is working on. The biggest update is that the Council has adopted a budget for Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 which begins July 1, 2018.
Included is the way money from the new tax will be allocated. It will be allocated to three areas; transportation, housing and policing. Salt Lake City can expect to see an additional 27 police in FY19 and 23 more likely in FY20. The additional officers, of course, will take some time to start for hiring and training. The housing allocation will target sixty percent of moderate income households. Housing will likely be a focus of the budget for the next few years.
The budget allocation to transportation will focus on two issues, road conditions and public transportation. Salt Lake City has a goal of seventy-three percent of the population with easily accessible public transit. The best western cities currently have in the forties percent of the population with easily accessible public transportation. This lofty goal is due to projected growth rates of another half million people moving to Salt Lake County in the next twenty years. Salt Lake City will implement a ride sharing program that will likely be implemented in two years. A pilot program will take residents who are not currently close to transit stops to the nearest transit stop. The two main areas of focus are the west side of the city and on the east bench where there are more residents living not near stops. Additionally, twelve to sixteen million dollars annually will go to a Salt Lake City specific contract with Utah Transit Authority (UTA) to increase hours of operation for buses from 6 am to 12 am and increase frequency to fifteen minutes.
There is a proposal to replace the bond for the library which is coming off the books with a bond to improve street conditions (currently two-thirds of Salt Lake City streets are in “poor” condition or worse) and to extend hours of operation for TRAX.
Economic Development Updates
The Salt Lake City Department of Economic Development (ED) is gearing up for the end of FY18 and has presented a budget for FY19. This weekend is the West Side Festival at Sugar Space from 11 to 7. ED will have a booth at the festival. ED is finalizing a contract with Local First that includes Small Business Saturday, the Mayor’s event in the Fall and assistance surveying west side businesses to determine.
Ben Kolendar from ED updated the BAB on ED’s budget. The Business Development (BD) division of Economic Development has gone from one person two years ago to six full time and two-part time fully staffed division. FY17 was one of the biggest economic years in Salt Lake City’s history. A-number-of notable large companies moved to Salt Lake City as have numerous small and mid-size companies. The Business Development (BD) team was involved with 12 wins in FY17 and 16 wins in FY18. In FY17 those wins brought $336 million in capital investment in FY17 and $445 million in FY18. . The BD team also updated the regional foreign trade zone and has begun targeting local businesses that import over $1 million annually. The Arts Councils successes in FY18 include partnering with Broadway Media for the Twilight Concerts Series.
Ben continued the update with the Economic Development Department’s priorities for FY19: restructuring the arts council and arts council foundation to give city staff more autonomy with programming of the arts, small businesses especially on the west side of the city and 60% of site visits will be with west side businesses, planning large events like the site selectors guild and bringing decision makers to Salt Lake City and the state, a pilot program to recruit businesses that fit the City’s priorities especially sustainability, continuing work with Main Street America on State Street, requested an increase of $30,000 in funding for grants for the arts and community which was approved by City Council, ED approved for an administrator.
Susi Feltch-Malohifo’ou updated the BAB on the work of Pacific Island Knowledge 2 Action Resources (PIK2R) which is the only Pacific Islander Chamber in the continental United States. PIK2R began as an organization that dealt with domestic violence and sexual assault and has moved into business when it became apparent there was a need for cultural translation. PIK2R focuses on bridging resources and education, social entrepreneurship, diversity as a strength, and people as important as profit. They have assisted 85 businesses in the last two years and have a membership of 30 businesses. PIK2R will have a big kick-off on July 28 where all the businesses can come together. Their focus for FY19 is to help make exporters products less expensive and increasing the income in the homes of Pacific Islanders as well as other ethnic communities.
Board Member Announcements
At the end of the meeting as we were up against the clock there was a brief discussion on how to get City Council more involved with the BAB. Russell Weeks suggested an informal luncheon and there was general agreement that is an appropriate starting point.
With time running out, there was a discussion on BAB subcommittees. How many are there, who is on them and what are they doing? There was some discussion of the homelessness subcommittee turning their attention and focus to the issue of housing and/or focusing on issues that have arisen after Project Rio Grande.
As the BAB was dispersing Roberta asked about a strategic plan for startups and incubators and if companies that have space could house them and if ED could be a liaison. More discussion on this topic likely at future BAB meetings.