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Supervisors Updated On Economic Development

By Staff | Nov 17, 2009

Palo Alto County’s Board of Supervisors were thanked for their ongoing support during a briefing on the activities of the Palo Alto Economic Development Corporation during a board meeting on Nov. 10. Kris Ausborn, President of Palo Alto Economic Development, and Maureen Elbert, Executive Director, provided the supervisors with the quarterly update of the organization’s activities.

“We are busy on several fronts,” Elbert explained to the supervisors in her briefing. “Locally, I can tell you that we are working with two potential businesses on their business development applications to the Palo Alto Revolving Loan Fund, and should have those completed very soon. That’s encouraging in that we’re starting to see some business action once again in the area.”

Elbert noted that the group’s website is being well utilized, and that one feature of the website, the Community Calendar pages, which list various events throughout the county and its communities, continues to grow in hits. “People are going to the calendar to find out what activities are going on and where they are. The second-most visited site on the website is the Buildings and Land Availability page, which details property available for business expansion or development.”

In her report, Elbert noted that after three years of work, the business survey of all businesses in the county had been completed, and the data is continually being updated. “Along with the information about the businesses in the county, the Business Survey also presents how those businesses look at the county,” Elbert noted. “In the survey, the businesses rate the Community College as an excellent resource and partner in business. The police, fire, ambulance services, educational systems and water supplies are all rated as excellent by the businesses, too.”

Elbert noted that one trend was emerging from the surveys.

“A lot of businesses are looking at expansions of their operations, but they don’t have enough land availability to grow in many of the cases,” Elbert said. “That’s an interesting dilemma to have.”

In conclusion, Elbert and Ausborn thanked the Supervisors for their support of the organization. “We really want to thank you for all of your support,” Elbert said. “The foundation has been laid and it is working well. Your attitude saying this is worth it has made all the difference in the world to our efforts.”

In other business, the supervisors heard a request from Kenley Zwiefel, coordinator of the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Reserves.

“The reserves currently are driving an old patrol car that has been fitted out and equipped to be an exact match to the cars used by the road deputies,” Zwiefel explained. “The reserves have paid for all of the equipment, and the car is available to the regular deputies for use as a spare if need be.”

Zwiefel requested the approval of the board for the Reserves to submit an application for a Palo Alto County Gaming Development grant for funds to obtain a replacement vehicle.

“This vehicle has an awful lot of miles on it, as it gets used a lot for prisoner transports as well as a backup car when others are in for service. We would like to apply for a grant to be able to obtain a newer car, which we would take responsibility of equipping as we have our current car.”

Supervisor Ron Graettinger moved to introduce and adopt a resolution to allow the Sheriff’s Reserves to submit a grant request under the county’s 501.(c)3 non-profit designation and Supervisor Leo Goeders offered a second to the motion. The motion was passed on a 4-1 vote, with supervisors Graettinger, Goeders, Noonan and Wirtz voting aye, while Supervisor Jerry Hofstad cast the lone no vote.

Regional Extension Director Terry Janssen also approached the board for a similar approval to allow the Palo Alto County Extension Service to submit a grant request to make the Extension Office meeting room accessible, along with some updating of equipment. As Janssen did not have a resolution prepared, the request was tabled for a week, with the board indicating it would support the request.