Delta County Opportunity Zone
The Opportunity Zones Program was enacted as part of the 2017 tax reform package (Tax cuts and jobs act) to address uneven economic recovery and persistent lack of growth that have left many communities across the country behind. In the broadest sense, the newly enacted federal Opportunity Zone program provides a tax incentive for investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into pow-income urban and rural communities.
DCED, County and Regional support is currently working on creating a Opportunity Zones prospectus for our community. A community investment prospectus is designed to attract capital in support of a specific OZ project. It included community marketing strategy, economic development analysis and private investment memorandum. Delta County has several large census tracts that are included in OZ.
Adaptive ReUse of the Paonia Technical College
DCED and others are looking at potential re-use for the Paonia Technical College in Paonia, CO, which most recently was for mine training (with the last class taking place in April of 2016). The goal is to reposition the County in the new economy as a community of choice for food manufacturing and culinary arts and create local jobs in these clusters. DCED would like to activate the Paonia Technical College as part of this effort. With this initiative we will work with the State to identify uses. This work begins in November 2016.
DCED recognizes that affordable, reliable and fast broadband is not a luxury; it's a necessity. Affordable broadband is a building block for healthy communities. We are thrilled with the Region 10 Middle Mile project and DMEA's commitment to providing fiber to the premise through Elevate Fiber. Soon Delta County will be offering gigabit service!
Business Support and Development:
DCED works to support local businesses expand and stay in Delta County and to establish new businesses in Delta County. We do this through:
Countywide Business Branding:
DCED is working with a Branding Taskforce to create a compelling business brand for the county to recruit new businesses. We will be creating a branding position statement, brand promise, logo and marketing strategy. The goals of this initiative are to:
Economic Recovery and Prosperity Plan for Delta County:
In 2014 Region 10, on behalf of Gunnison and Delta Counties, applied for and was approved for a U.S. Economic Development Administration FY 2014 Economic Development Adjustment Assistance Program Grant for Delta and Gunnison Counties. This grant was requested to improve and enhance the economic resiliency and sustainability of these two counties in Colorado after the 2013 fire which caused closure of the Oxbow coalmine in Gunnison County, Colorado. Since then, additional mine closures and slow downs are a regional economic emergency which is creating dire consequences for the affected counties. During 2015 and 2016, with consultants from Better City, we conducted an in-depth, visionary and data-driven analysis that prioritized actions at creating a more diversified and robust economy in Delta County. We are currently working on implementation of three projects (hotel/conference center, riverfront/recreation development and food/ag innovation center). The scope of work included:
Local Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency
In September 2015, DCED convened a committee to look at the development of local renewable energy project in Delta County to supply Delta Montrose Electrical Association. Delta County has significant opportunities to generate power locally particularly related to solar, hydro and coal mine methane. This year DCED partnered with Paonia based Solar Energy International and local solar installer, Empowered Energy Systems to conduct a countywide program "Solarize Delta County", putting solar on residential and business rooftops. DCED also supports Delta County opting in to the Colorado Commercial Property Assessed Clean Energy (“C-PACE”) program. C-PACE uses the existing public-sector structures of improvement and assessment districts to create a voluntary statewide district, called the New Energy Improvement District (NEID), for funding various energy and water improvements. If counties choose to opt-in to the NEID, then commercial property owners in those territories will be able to access a valuable new tool that will improve access to financing in Colorado.
Participation in Collaborative Initiatives
Rural Jumpstart Zone
DCED is working to get all of Delta County designated as a Rural Jumpstart Zone in 2017. Rural Jump-Start Zone program provides specific tax relief to New Businesses/divisions (these businesses cannot compete with any other business in the state) and New Hires of these businesses that are located in certain economically distressed areas of rural Colorado and align with local or regional state higher education institutions in order to promote economic development in these areas. This program is based on Senate Bill 15-282, and codified under Colorado Revised Statutes 39-30.5-101. This program is administered by the Colorado Office of Economic Development and International Trade (OEDIT) and the Colorado Economic Development Commission (EDC), in conjunction with other government entities. Currently both Mesa and Montrose Counties are approved Rural Jumpstart Zones and are working with businesses (seven have been approved in and moved to Mesa).
The Rural Jump-Start Zone program (based on Senate Bill 15-282) is a tax relief program for new businesses and new hires who locate into certain designated areas called Jump-Start zones. The program offers the following benefits:
• Relief from state income taxes for the new business
• Relief from the state sales & use tax for the business
• Relief from county and municipal business personal property tax
• Relief from state income taxes for the employee
Space to Create
Space to Create Colorado is the first state driven initiative for affordable housing for the creative sector in the nation. The purpose is to develop affordable housing and work space for creative workers and arts organizations and to position Colorado as the nation's leader in artist-led community transformation in rural communities. Space to Create will facilitate the development of nine projects in Colorado over the course of eight years. Delta County is eligible to apply in 2017. Currently a community group from Paonia is exploring options for the Town of Paonia to apply for this initiative.