Uinta County Economic Development works on design plan for the county’s 1,000 acres

Local Resident Eric Mander asks questions of the commission. Ben Bell of First Bank sitting next to Mander listens attentively to the response.

Was the main topic at the Commission meeting Oct. 26

EVANSTON — Tyler Stuart with the design firm Jones and DeMille spoke via Zoom at the Uinta County Economic Development Commission (UCEDC) meeting Wed, Oct. 26. And said the design firm is focusing on laying out the site infrastructure design for the 200-acre parcel of the property owned by the county titled the 1,000 acres.

The property is adjacent to Bear River State Park at the end of the road residents call “Road to Nowhere.”

“We plan on giving our final presentation at your December meeting,” Stuart said.

Director of UCEDC Gary Welling asked Stuart if Jones and DeMille had discussed having a public meeting/open house to provide information and receive input. Stuart responded they may have removed that item from the budget. Welling asked they reconsider, saying a public meeting is imperative.

Local resident Eric Mander asked the commission how many acres are actually in the plan that was presented, as people are curious if it really is the entire 1,000 acres.

Welling said, “The design is focusing on 200 acres. The land is actually approximately 946 acres but 1,000 is just the title we have been using. Some of the land is not usable, some has pipelines underneath the ground and we cannot put concrete over it, and some has to be reserved for conservation. The 200 acres in the plan is closer to the interstate highway. The public will be able to see the plan at an open house.”

Questions and discussion involved how the area would be marketed. Welling mentioned investments firms have shown interest and one may come in December to look at the property.

“Once we have the master plan, then we can approach major developers,” commissioner Brent Hatch said. “When the plan is developed it will cause a rippling effect.”

Welling added a public meeting will be held for citizens input and concerns.

Chair Dan Wheeler asked Jon Conrad to give his report on the key performance indicators for the last month.

Conrad said the housing market is pretty stable at 68 and subdivision permits were down from three in September to only one in October.

County unemployment is at 3.5% and is down from last month with 10 unemployment claims being registered. Conrad said Teton County has only 1.7 % unemployment and the average wage is $72,979.00 while the average wage in Uinta County is around $52,000, which shows a possible correlation, Conrad said.

Wheeler added the lodging tax had generated $370,000 from July 2021 to June 2022 and for the first quarter of this year $119,000 in taxes was generated. He said that out of the 5% lodging tax, Uinta County receives 2%.

“One thing I want to say,” Wheeler added, “is how important our website is. I did some research and the counties across the state that have a website are the ones that are growing. Maybe those counties hire a part-time or full-time person to monitor it and add events and updated information on a consistent basis.”

Mander asked if the commission was considering adding the one penny tax to the ballot, and if they were working on it in cooperation with BOCES or separately.

it will be separate from BOCES as there is a mill levy request, Wheeler said. it will take at least two years to define what the county will use the additional one penny tax for before they put it on a ballot for the public to vote. Fifty percent of the sales tax is derived from tourism.

Hatch added a one penny tax needs to benefit the entire county and other counties that have implemented the one penny additional tax are growing and flourishing.

Rocco O’Neill reported the website now had new apps which measure what countries the views are coming from and the top industries. He said they had a total of five leads to the five local companies listed on the website and he encourages other companies to get on the website.

Kalli Ingalls, Southwest Wyoming Business Council, said there is new clarification on timelines for grant applications, and she will send the information to the commission.

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