This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker will roll out a new economic-development plan Tuesday that he believes will build on the capital city's surging economy.
The initiative called "Enterprise SLC" was developed in conjunction with Natalie Gochnour, associate dean at the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah.
In a memorandum to City Hall, Gochnour points to the highlights of Salt Lake City's economy: employment is up; average monthly wages are up; residential and commercial building permits are up; and gross taxable sales are up.
In meetings with business leaders, Becker was expected to outline his three-point economic-development pledge: "address existing barriers to economic development; support business through effective and efficient use of economic-development tools; foster new and reaffirm existing partnerships with organizations who share the goal to create a great American city."
Monday afternoon, Becker's challenger in the upcoming November election, Jackie Biskupski, said it's about time the mayor tuned into the economy.
"The mayor is trying to paint a picture that all is rosy," Biskupski said. "He knows what I know to be true, our economic-development progress is not keeping up with the costs of running a city."
She added, however, that an economic-development program is necessary. "I'm glad in his eighth year, the mayor is finally taking this seriously," she said.
Becker's pledge outlines the hiring of a building-services ombudsman, a new position in Housing and Neighborhood Development to work on business development in neighborhoods, and an increase in economic-development staff from five to nine.
The mayor also pledges to review city ordinances in an effort to identify those that are impediments to development.
Further, Becker announced that Salt Lake City is the recipient of a $50,000 federal grant to streamline its business-licensing process.
Also included in the mayor's initiative is a program through the city's Economic Development Loan Fund to help local businesses buy their buildings.
Not least, according to the initiative, the city will contract with an unnamed agency to work exclusively with Salt Lake City on business recruitment.