Commissioners invest further into economic development action

With consensus from the interested entities in the Othello region about targeting food and beverage processing plants received, Adams County Economic Development Director Stephen McFadden requested the Adams County Commissioners fund the additional $25,000 for the cost comparative analysis by the Boyd Company.

After a few weeks of deliberation, the commissioners informed McFadden Wednesday, April 22, they had decided to fund the study. Though not officially voted on at the Wednesday meeting, the commissioners informed him they would be taking official action Monday. The advanced warning was so McFadden could begin the process of contracting Boyd for the additional study. This will put the amount of money invested by entities within Adams County at more than $100,000 since the Adams County Development Council signed a contract for $78,000 last fall.

“I think we need to finish the project,” Commissioner Jeff Stevens said. There was some discussion among the commissioners about the potential for additional funding support from the ACDC, but it was decided the county would bear all of the cost. “Whether you pay for it at this level or you try to get it from ACDC, it’s the same money.” Commissioner John Marshal said. “I think we ought to just go ahead and do it and leave their funds alone.” The money will come out of fund No. 122, the economic development fund of the Adams County budget.

Since the release of the initial reports from Boyd and their media campaign, McFadden reported several groups had requested copies of complete reports. The biggest surge in requests came after a release in American Shipper April 21. “The Boyd Company has been lighting up my email since yesterday morning,” McFadden said Wednesday. He said by the end of the day Tuesday, he had received notifications that nine requests for the reports had been made. “And since 6 this morning, Boyd has emailed me another seven,” McFadden said.

With funding secured for the food processor study, McFadden also informed commissioners about a business recruitment opportunity he was recently offered. He was invited by the Yakima County Development Association to join them on a joint trip to the largest food processor show, scheduled for September. “There will be guaranteed appointments, six to 10 business looking to site in Washington state,” McFadden said. “So I will have the food processing report from Boyd by the time I go there.” The initial reports have already generated substantial interest in Adams County. “We have leads we wouldn’t know how to get, without having that report out there,” McFadden said. With the recent coordination between the multitude of players in the county, Stevens expressed his excitement for the next few years.

“I think this whole Boyd study has brought about a county-wide cooperative effort that hasn’t happened. I think the last time some large economic cooperative happened would have been back when the irrigation came into our area,” he said. “That would have been the last great economic development boom that Adams County’s seen where pretty much the county was together on it at the time.”

From the Othello Outlook Tyler Fryberger II 5/8/2015

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