Committee releases recommendations for Butte economic development


BSB committee releases recommendations for economic development

BUTTE, Mont. - Butte-Silver Bow Chief Executive Matt Vincent said the city will continue to work with Butte Local Development Corporation despite a new report that says the city should seriously reconsider the agreement.

The recommendation comes from the Butte-Silver Bow Economic Development Committee. The committee was tasked with finding ways to improve how Butte-Silver Bow manages economic development and review money spent.

Other recommendations included more accountability and evaluation of money and grants, as well as to create an ordinance or resolution for future spending from the redevelopment trust.

Vincent said he was troubled when he saw stores, restaurants and hotels closing their over the past year.

"There was a lot of concern out there in the community. Rightfully so -- where are we headed economically?" said Vincent.

The city and county were moving in the wrong direction economically. To figure out what was going on, Vincent created a six-person committee.

"It was really important for us to take a good, critical look at how we spend our taxpayers' money and time on economic development," said Vincent.

One of the recommendations is to critically reconsider the contract with Butte Local Development Corporation.

BLDC manages the county's loan funds, the Council of Economic Development, Urban Revitalization Agency and the Tax Improvement Financing District. It's a total of $76,000 in contracts, the BLDC also gets $15,000 in loan fees from the city. It's the largest contract of all the city's economic development groups.

"We want to work with them. We want to continue our relationship, but I guess there's more conversations to be had," said BLDC Executive Director Jim Smitham.

Vincent said with the budget deadline quickly approaching, the county is looking to make cuts. Renegotiating the contract could save taxpayers money.

Smitham said he hopes the city will have some funds available for BLDC.

"But if not, we're going to continue our responsibility as far as doing economic development for Butte Silver-Bow," said Smitham.

Vincent agrees and stresses that the recommendations are preliminary.

"We are going to continue to work with the BLDC as we do with every other economic development agency out there with or without the same old contract," said Vincent.

The council will review the recommendations Wednesday at the full council meeting.

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