Friday, March 23, 2007

SIEDO to seek funds for business study

Twin Falls, Jerome and Blaine counties included in proposal

Express Staff Writer

A regional economic development organization will soon be seeking money from local governments to fund a study of local business opportunities.

A similar study done in 2000 resulted in the formation of the Southern Idaho Economic Development Organization, known as SIEDO, in Twin Falls. Now, that organization would like to update that study to determine how the regional business climate has changed.

During a meeting of the Blaine County Commission on Tuesday, March 20, Hailey Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Julie Oxarango-Ingram said a main focus of the study would be to determine what is needed to induce growing businesses to expand locally rather than move to nearby cities. She said an impediment to that effort is the increasing cost of workforce housing.

CH2M Hill, a firm located in Franklin, Tenn., submitted a proposal to conduct the study to SIEDO in February. The firm stated that its analysis would include an inventory of human resources, technology resources, infrastructure and the tax and regulatory climate in the region. It stated that those assets would be compared to those of competing areas.

In a letter dated Feb. 13, Jennifer Tanner, senior project manager for the proposed study, and Denny Stamm, vice president of the firm's Industrial Solutions Group, stated that the study would cost $50,000. They said the firm could begin immediately and would take ten to 14 weeks to complete it.

The letter stated that the study could cover Twin Falls, Jerome and Blaine counties.

"It's increasingly crucial that we look at this from a regional standpoint," Oxarango-Ingram told the county commissioners.

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