County hopes to develop plan to attract manufacturers
Yuma County wants to attract more manufacturing industries to the region, which would increase job opportunities and recharge the economy.
With help from the Greater Yuma Economic Development Corporation, the county hopes to develop a strategic plan outlining ways to attract manufacturers.
In May, GYEDC learned of a potential grant opportunity by the U.S. Department of Commerce Economic Development Administration that could help fund such a plan.
The planning grant, "Investing in Manufacturing Communities Partnership," will be awarded to about 25 communities across the nation for development of strategies. Each community could potentially receive up to $25 million to help implement the strategies.
However, GYEDC did not have the necessary federal registration in place to apply for the planning grant and requested the county's assistance, according to staff reports.
The county submitted an application in June, but it did not receive the funding. Nevertheless, a letter from the Department of Commerce regional director encouraged Monty Stansbury, director of Yuma County Development Services, to resubmit the application for the next round. The next funding cycle closes on Sept. 13.
The Board of Supervisors approved submission of the grant application this week.
The grant calls for in-kind matching, which would mainly come from staff time from the county and GYEDC.
The in-kind matching contributions would amount to about $35,500 from the county and $24,500 from GYEDC.
The goal of the IMCP initiative is to “help communities cultivate an environment for businesses to create well-paying manufacturing jobs,” states a Department of Commerce fact sheet.
Ultimately, the initiative hopes to “accelerate the nationwide resurgence in manufacturing investment driven by the U.S. competitive advantage, such as new energy sources, productivity and rising costs abroad.”
The fact sheet notes that “smart companies decide where to locate facilities and hire workers based on the quality of a community’s infrastructure and human capital – its industrial ecosystem.”
However, “communities all too often rely on the practice of ‘smokestack chasing’ to attract investment. That is, they offer subsidies and tax breaks to attract a single firm. Evidence shows that this approach results in a low return on taxpayer investment.”
The federal agency is encouraging communities to launch strategic plans to strengthen their “industrial ecosystems” by “investing in the human and physical infrastructure that will appeal to and strengthen entire industries – thereby more effectively attracting, retraining and expanding commercial activity.”
In other action, the supervisors approved the appointment of several individuals as Democratic Precinct Committeemen as recommended by the Yuma County Democratic Party.
The appointees include: Precinct 6 - Rosemary Villa and Laura Ramirez, both of Somerton; Precinct 15 - Daniel Eugene Dawson and Roberta Fitzgerald Dawson, both of Yuma; Precinct 16 - Rick Sandoval of Yuma; Precinct 20 - Barbara Braden of Tacna; Precinct 26 - Merary Ramirez of Yuma; Precinct 35 - Denise Ray Sepulveda of Yuma; and Precinct 42 - Jose Meza Arcega of Yuma.
Their terms will expire Dec. 31, 2014.