By Sandy Barnes
Hiring engineering consultants to develop the Town’s master plan for infrastructure could be a strategy for attracting businesses, Berthoud Economic Resource Team member Jim Birdsall said at the Monday, Oct. 12, meeting. Birdsall, who serves on BERT’s business attraction subcommittee, said that it is important to understand the capabilities of the Town’s water and sewer systems and how to use them effectively.
“The need for it has surfaced,” remarked Scott Banzhaf who has been working with Birdsall on the subcommittee.
“The only way to do this is through grants,” Interim Town Administrator Gary Suiter remarked. When asked, Suiter said there is no line item in the present town budget for master planning of infrastructure.
Dr. Jeff Bruno of the BERT business retention subcommittee said his group has set a goal of increasing sales tax revenue by 20 percent next year. Coordinating efforts with the Berthoud Chamber of Commerce and finding ways of making businesses more attractive and inviting to customers are other goals, Bruno said.
Economic development consultant Stephanie Salazar encouraged sending follow-up letters to businesses that had attended an appreciation breakfast sponsored by BERT as another way of reaching out to them.
Relationship building is another important part of economic development, Salazar said during a discussion on a recent site selector meeting in Denver, which BERT members and Suiter attended. “We need to build relationships,” she said.
Salazar also asked BERT members about support for the upcoming vote on inclusion in the Aims Community College tax district. “That’s a very important issue for economic development,” she said. Suiter noted he drafted a resolution supporting the Aims tax district for the Town Board to consider at the Oct. 13 meeting.
While presenting his report, Suiter also discussed the Town budget process, which is underway. He said in developing the budget for the coming year with Town staff, many options were being considered for trimming expenses and generating additional revenues.
BERT member Larry Bebo added that to save money, he thought the Town should put maintenance work out to bid and sell its equipment. “This town needs to get its economic house in order,” he remarked.