MORGAN — Morgan city has accepted a contract with former Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey for economic development activities, including grant writing and wooing a hotel developer to the area.
“He has the expertise to pull everything together and bring a hotel to town. He’s done it,” Councilman Ray Little said.
“If he brings the hotel to town, I am in favor of paying what he asks.”
Godfrey recently started American Municipal Consultants, a firm that offers economic development and crime-reduction consultation.
According to the agreement, the city will pay a $10,000 retainer for preliminary grant writing that may help develop infrastructure for a light manufacturing park and perhaps some other commercial area development.
Because initial work could include a power system assessment, half the sum will come from money set aside by the city for power. The remainder would come from city economic development funds.
Another $25,000 in the agreement will be paid to Godfrey only if a hotel developer signs a development agreement with the city and obtains a building permit.
City officials would like the future developer to help pay the $25,000 performance-based compensation via an escrow account.
“What he makes depends on what he gets us,” Mayor Jim Egbert said of Godfrey.
Councilwoman Shelly Betz said putting a hotel within city limits could bring in much-needed revenue via the transient room tax and spur additional economic growth.
Egbert said an area hotel would help facilitate multiday events in the county, which in turn would benefit area businesses serving eventgoers.
Council members have already spent time discussing possibilities with Godfrey, and say he has already spoken with investors about the project.
Councilman Lynn Mickelson said the city has been trying for almost 15 years to find someone interested in building a hotel in Morgan.
Every time city officials have come close to securing an interested developer, “Bam! We hit a wall,” Egbert said.
Betz called the contract with Godfrey “a wall breaker.”
“He does have a certain level of expertise and professional contacts, things that would benefit and eliminate some struggles we’ve had,” she said.
The recent downturn in the economy has forced investors to proceed much more cautiously, Egbert said.
“We don’t have the staff (to seek a hotel developer),” he said.
“We need to call on someone with the expertise, connections and knowledge of what to do next.”