City embraces change, working to improve business relations
Government New city manager focusing on streamlining processes, helping local business
Newbergs new city budget made quite a few funding changes, one of which was eliminating the position of economic development director. But City Manager Jacque Betz said this doesnt mean economic development has been placed on a back burner, its actually one of her main concerns.
In my opinion, the city needs to hire a community development director, Betz said. That community development director oversees building and planning and will also help lead a process where we do visioning as far as economic development and what the city needs to be providing to the community.
As the planning director position is also filled by an interim director, Steve Olson, Betz wants to combine the responsibilities of both positions in an effort to be more efficient and move the city forward. She plans to start recruitment for the position in September. In the meantime, shes continuing the efforts.
A lot of the duties that (former economic development director) David Beam was doing have been transferred to myself, she said. So some the organizations or the meetings he was attending, I am attending. For example, Business Oregon is a big organization we want to make sure were staying in contact with so when they get a lead of a possible business that wants to come to town here theres a point person.
Shes also working on customer service.
I think its an opportunity to step back and say how can the city be a business friendly community? I know that has been a point of contention before I got here, Betz said. What we want to do is internally look at customer service. I think theres a lot of existing businesses in the past that have come to the city and said its just too much of a cumbersome process to figure out what we need to do or they havent felt like they have got the support they needed.
This also means streamlining the process for businesses or potential businesses.
When people come in they are sitting down with key department head staff to talk about what is it that I need to do to open my bakery shop, she said. I think there has been a lot of staggered information that people have got and its frustrating them.
So the city has been creating a checklist of sorts, so people know everything they need to do to start or expand their business.
One of the reasons I chose this job was the opportunity with the downtown transformation plan, Betz said. I think with the bypass project coming to fruition, its a really good opportunity for the city to work with businesses on what do you want downtown to be and how can we be a resource to really make that vibrant?
She added that everything shes developing and working toward is to let the community know we want you here and we think youre important.