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Creating jobs discussed Wed.

Summit County is taking a "less government is better" approach to improving economic development on the East Side.

Instead of hiring someone to be the county’s development director and have them survey business owners for ideas on how to create more jobs, the county will go straight to the business community, said County Manager Bob Jasper.

A plan for developing the local economy will be created by a task force of volunteers meeting May 18 at the Wanship Fire Station for the first time.

The task force is made up of all the mayors plus Kate Riggs and Jan Wilking from the real estate community, fossil fuels expert Randy Jones, Kamas business owner Matt Weller, DeAnn Geary of Geary Construction, entrepreneurship expert Jon Buetler and businessman and county Republican Chair Henry Glasheen.

Jasper said the top goal of the Summit County Council is to foster economic development that is green, sustainable and good for the area.

Assistant County Manager Anita Lewis said the mission of the task force is to define what economic development should mean for the county.

The make-up of the group is weighted with East Side representatives. There is currently no one from the tourism industry. The task force could be enlarged, however, to include that element, Lewis said.

The Park City Chamber/Bureau will actively work with the task force, she added.

"We worked closely with Bill Malone on selecting members," Jasper said. "We wanted more of a balance between sections of the county and industries in the county Our chamber has focused on the resort community. They’re looking at representing more broadly the business community."

The idea of a task force came out of an economic development summit that met last October, he explained. The next step will be to put programs together to implement the goals they set. A predictable precedent is the Summit County Beef program that is working to supply high-end restaurants on the West Side with grass-fed beef from the East Side, he said.

Member Jon Buetler is the director of the Park City Business Resource Center, which is helping fund the group. Jasper said the Mountainland Association of Governments will also be called upon to help with resources.

"I’m not guaranteeing this will work," Jasper said. "So much depends on the national economy. It’s hard to get loans for businesses. It’s hard to find jobs in this area."

The county hopes that by putting the right minds together, things can be done to push businesses in positive directions or remove obstacles to their success. It’s always a challenge to know if a committee is big enough, Lewis said. The size can be modified later if needed.


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