Weber Davis economic development foxley

Officials from Weber and Davis counties on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, formally agreed to come up with a plan to jointly pursue economic development initiatives. In this April 24, 2018, photo Theresa Foxley, president of the Economic Development Corp. of Utah, discusses the notion of a two-county economic development body with Weber County commissioners.

OGDEN — Officials from Weber and Davis counties have taken a firm step forward in creating an entity that would promote business growth in the two-county zone.

Commissioners from each county on Tuesday approved a letter-of-intent to craft a plan "to provide the region with economic development leadership, coordination and process management." Talk of such an effort dates at least to April and now the two counties will join forces in seeking outside proposals to oversee the initiative.

As described previously, the entity would be an independent economic development corporation serving the two counties, pursuing business recruitment, expansion of local businesses and more. Each county would allocate money for the effort, per the letter of intent, but the precise dollar amount and other details have yet to be worked out.

Weber County officials surveyed local business leaders earlier this year, finding they weren't so fixated on city or county boundaries in making decisions about expanding or growing. "They just cared that they had a good bottom line and that they were supported and they could get people to work and they could make money and be prosperous," Weber County Commissioner Jim Harvey said Tuesday.

That led officials to look regionally in promoting economic development, and Davis County to the south seemed the most fitting county to work with, Harvey said. He cited, in part, the many residents from the neighboring county who come to Weber County each day for work.

Economic development is enhanced through joint efforts, creating synergies, says the letter of intent. "There is an opportunity to enhance the region's brand, improve quality of life for the counties' residents, increase the region's economic output and stimulate employment growth in the region through a coordinated and formalized regional approach to economic development," it reads.

Davis County Commissioner Bret Millburn echoed that. "We need to focus on lifting the whole rather than compartmentalizing," he said.

Indeed, location of the new entity, when created, is of secondary importance. "Where they're located, I don't think it matters. That's kind of the vision here, to break down borders and boundaries," Millburn said.

Contact reporter Tim Vandenack at tvandenack@standard.net, follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack or like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/timvandenackreporter.

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