Commissioners support economic development grant

by karla pomeroy

The Big Horn County commissioners agreed to help fund the match for an economic development grant for up to $5,763, after action at last Tuesday’s meeting.

Lovell Inc. Director Sue Taylor came to the commissioners asking for the match, stating that the organization is looking at developing a countywide program rather than in just Lovell. “We have every intent to serve every community in the county. We’ve already started working with Basin a little bit,” Taylor said. She said she will be working with other communities January through March and then seek a written and fiscal support from them.

“We need to think of ourselves as a county. This could be an effective tool to get rid of the thinking for north versus south,” she said.

Taylor added, “It’s hard to do regional but we feel we can do countywide.” She said Lovell Inc. is hiring a few people age 50 and over to help run the office in Lovell while she is serving other communities.

Commissioner Keith Grant said he also feels the economic development plan would give them the opportunity to draw the county together. “When I first ran that was one of my goals and it’s been elusive.”

She said they are seeking a $50,000 planning grant from the Wyoming Business Council that requires a 25 percent match or $12,500. Looking at a $12,500 cash match, she said Greybull, Lovell and Basin have committed to helping with the match.

“The missing piece is the smaller communities,” she said. She said they are asking the county to fund the rest of the match and if other communities come on board money would be given back to the county. Taylor said with the Dec. 1 deadline for the grant she did not have enough time to visit the councils of all nine municipalities.

The cash match doesn’t need to happen realistically until next fiscal year, she said, which gives her  time to visit with the other communities.

The commissioners asked if Lovell Inc. would still work with all nine communities even if they did not financially support the match and Taylor said they would.

Taylor said in addition to the grant, ultimately, Lovell Inc. would like to request a quarter-cent sales tax from the voters for economic development so they don’t have to rely heavily on public funds.

Grant asked how Lovell Inc.’s incubator was doing and Taylor said they have three spaces with one tenant and two open spaces.

There will be a public hearing on the grant application at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 30, at the commissioners meeting room at the courthouse in Basin.