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  • Daily News Update for Monday October 20, 2014

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  • Original file date: Sun, 19 Oct 2014, ID:cp8nhk

    NORTH OGDEN — The city council has renewed an economic development contract with a company run by former Ogden Mayor Matthew Godfrey, but not before some officials expressed reservations. The contract calls for the city to pay Godfrey’s firm, Better Cities, $1,000 a month flat fee and then to pay them in increments upon the completion of jobs – not to exceed $60,000 per year. City Councilman Jim Urry questioned Godfrey implicitly on what his worth is to the city. “I get that we need economic development, but what are you doing for us that we can’t do for ourselves?” Urry asked. Godfrey explained that economic development is different in different cities. In some cities development comes to the city because of its location and other factors but in other cities it takes much more work at first. “The challenge you have here is that you have had projects that have been spinning around for years and there has been no driving force,” Godfrey said. “The market isn’t self correcting. How long has King’s sat empty?” Godfrey explained, referring to an old storefront on Washington Boulevard. Urry said he feels hesitant to use city funds (Redevelopment Agency funds) to pay to help businesses to locate in North Ogden. Urry also says he feels in the dark with what Godfrey is doing with the city and would like more information – maybe on a monthly basis. Godfrey explained that would be difficult. “Results come in sporadically,” Godfrey explained. Some months there would be nothing to report and it would be frustrating, but some months there is a lot happening, Godfrey said. He would rather give reports or have the mayor give reports to the council when things are happening. And as far as RDA funds go, it goes back to whether businesses want to locate in North Ogden. Godfrey talked about how he had sent out a request for proposals for contractors for various projects and got nothing back – which would be the same result if the city did it. Once a city knows the RDA is getting involved, things change. City Councilman Phil Swanson said he has enjoyed how Godfrey’s firm has helped the city along. Mayor Brent Taylor agreed. “Mayor Godfrey knows people in the business community,” Taylor said. “Compared to a 34-year-old mayor trying to answer questions and then having Mayor Godfrey there to help out – it makes a big difference,” Taylor said. “I compare it to selling a house. You can either do by owner or with a Realtor,” Swanson said. “I feel like we need Godfrey’s expertise here.” “I applaud Mayor Godfrey for what you’ve brought to the city,” City Councilman Kent Bailey said. “It’s not like we have a stampede of businesses wanting to come into North Ogden,” Swanson added. Godfrey agreed, but also noted North Ogden is not a lost cause when it comes to business, either. He noted that is things are coming along and that the RDA is going to increase with the addition of the new Smith’s, but also that the commercial business in North Ogden is unique. “You have the Smith’s marketplace, but now you have the old Smith’s building and trying to figure out what is going to happen there,” Godfrey said. Godfrey grew up in North Ogden and admitted he has personal interest in seeing success there. “I love working with North Ogden. I’m not going to get rich with this contract, but this is my old stomping grounds and I like the people here,” he said. Taylor and Godfrey both said that Godfrey will often drop what he is doing to help with situations in North Ogden. “The location is good because I can get here quickly,” he said. Taylor also said that Godfrey isn’t the only one that works for Better Cities. “We are really get a team of professionals for one price,” he said. Urry admitted he is coming around to the idea and did vote to grant a new contract, but has reservations about information being in the forefront. Taylor assured that he would be better about giving the information.


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