This year MEDC is pleased to award the Annual Economic Development Award to one of our partners who have played a vital role in our team process: Montrose County. We chose to recognize Montrose County because of their strategic governmental partnership with MEDC and their efforts to help local businesses grow jobs.
All communities have many different entities that are part of an economic development process such as cities, counties, planning commissions, schools, and economic development corporations. As such, the economic development activity for any community requires teamwork to achieve success with economic development efforts.
One such success story is the economic powerhouse of Montrose Forest Products. The family company, owned by Jim Neiman, invested in the mill and (by extension) the community with over $10 million of capital since 2013. In recognition of that investment, Montrose County elected officials and staff worked collaboratively with the mill to take advantage of a business-personal property tax credit as allowed by statute. This 15 year agreement is estimated to return over $30,000 in the first year to the company. Montrose County continues to demonstrate to this company that the jobs they provide and their decision to invest in Montrose is valued. In addition, Montrose County continues to take action to help ensure a growing timber supply to the mill by advocating in U.S. Forest Service actions and federal processes.
Another such example of the County’s dedication to attracting and retaining businesses is that of Travel Recon, a budding technology start-up. MEDC began working with Travel Recon in 2015. Through the discussions held in our meetings, the County became aware of the need for funds to bring broadband fiber to the office space Travel Recon wanted to occupy. The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) stepped up to provide the funding necessary to complete the task and did so in such a way that neighboring businesses would also see a benefit. The County was at the table, as part of the team, and they partnered to make it happen with economic development dollars that brought the capacity for one gigabyte of bandwidth for that business park.
In addition, the teamwork demonstrated by MEDC, the County and the city helped secure Montrose as a home for Mayfly Outdoors. Montrose County was an integral and essential part of the Mayfly process offering not only a $50,000 marketing and advertising incentive, but also offering business personal property tax credit similar to that provided to Montrose Forest Products.
Montrose County is an active member of the MEDC Board of Directors. County Manager Ken Norris and Commissioner David White sit on the Board and take an active role in the process of promoting and supporting MEDC’s economic development efforts. Jon Waschbusch is the Government Affairs Director for the County, and he works closely with the MEDC staff to assist with prospects and existing companies who are expanding.
Jon encourages MEDC to bring projects to the County, as well as researches and administers incentive agreements. Together they embody a renewed commitment to economic development in Montrose and to bringing jobs to our community.
In 2014 MEDC had to change the method under which we title our investment land. Montrose County stepped-up in a creative way to help us handle the necessary changes. They also assist MEDC with our website fees, and offer assistance with the cost of attending conferences and trade shows. Montrose County acknowledges MEDC as the economic development arm of Montrose County and they treat us as a valued partner.
Montrose County owns and operates our airport which is the largest economic driver in our region totaling over $325M per year. The improvements to our airport have totaled $48M over the last 8 years. The investment in our airport and these improvements enhance our ability to handle the air service we are fortunate to have though the partnership with Telluride and the Colorado Flights Alliance.
Finally, the BOCC has demonstrated a commitment to the local communities they serve with over $750,000 of funding to community organizations such as the Basin Clinic, Montrose Regional Crime Stoppers, CASA, Dolphin House, Partners, CMU Montrose, Museum of the Mountain West and the Ute Indian Museum. Specifically, the BOCC have dedicated funds over the past several years to help stimulate the economy on the west end of the county in the communities of Nucla and Naturita. They have provided funding for the West End Economic Development Corporation that was used to purchase a building on Main Street that will be refurbished to create a business incubator and a co-working space with Wi-Fi service, as well as a commercial kitchen for community use.
MEDC is proud to partner with the County to help create tangible economic development in our local communities and work to grow the employment base in Montrose County.