KINGMAN – Council received an in-depth presentation from Interim City Manager Jim Bacon at Tuesday’s Council meeting, in which he provided his thoughts on how the City should prepare and organize the Kingman Planning and Economic Development Department.
Bacon opened his presentation by noting the common misconception that economic development is the same as economic growth. He said economic growth is based on classic factors of production; land, human resources and entrepreneurship. Economic development, however, includes the community as a whole rather than just those factors of production. He favors the definition given by the Salmon Valley Idaho Business Innovation Center:
“Efforts that seek to improve the economic well-being and quality of life for a community by creating jobs, retaining jobs, supporting or growing incomes, and the tax base.”
According to Bacon, a city’s economic development plan should provide answers to four key questions; why should I invest here, how do I invest here, where do I invest here and what do I need to do to invest here?
“A successful economic development strategy and organization will provide strong, clear answers to each of those questions,” Bacon said.
Developing a shared vision, a coherent strategy and setting clear goals are ways in which Bacon said Kingman can begin to answer those questions that will yield a successful economic development department.
Whatever Kingman decides on as a shared vision needs to be exactly that, Bacon said: shared. It should be “communicated and embraced” by the community as a whole and should be included in the strategic plan adopted by Kingman. In summary, the entire community should be able to relate to the shared vision. A coherent strategy falls into the spirit of community, as it should incorporate both internal (the economic development organization) and external (the market, workforce and community) forces.
An economic development organization that sets clear goals sets itself up to be successful, Bacon said.
“The staff will try to add jobs,” is a poor example of a clear goal, he noted. Good examples are goals that are both specific and measurable.
While Kingman has plenty of work to do in continuing to develop an organization and the strategies that coincide with it, Bacon noted Kingman’s progress within the short span of a month. Kingman now has an interim director in Gary Kellogg, a fully-staffed economic development organization consisting of seven additional employees, an office location and a plan to move forward. These components were lacking even as of Jan. 1.
“So between knowing that Gary Kellogg is your new director, and knowing this phone number (928-565-1259), you now know the two most important pieces of information in any successful economic development program, which is who to contact and how,” Bacon said.