Business and job growth priorities under new Mesa County plan

Mesa County commissioners, from left, Rose Pugliese, John Justman and Steve Aquafresca unveil a strategic plan they expect to guide county operations in coming years. Business and job growth remain priorities for the county under the plan. (Business Times photo by Phil Castle)

Phil Castle, The Business Times

Business and job growth remain important priorities for Mesa County under a new strategic plan developed to guide county government.

“We want a county environment that’s business friendly,” said Mesa County Commissioner Steve Aquafresca.

Lower taxes and fees, fewer regulations and partnerships with local business and economic development groups all are part of the effort.

But so is county spending on roads, bridges and other infrastructure as well as delivering services in an efficient fashion, Aquafresca added.

Aquafresca joined commissioners John Justman and Rose Pugliese in unveiling the plan during a news conference in front of the Mesa County Courthouse in Grand Junction.

The election of Justman and Pugliese in November prompted the effort to develop a new plan, Aquafresca said. “It’s a new board with a new, fresh-thinking philosophy.”

After discussing their values, priorities and goals, the commissioners sought advice from other elected county officials and department leaders in writing and revising the plan, Aquafresca.

“I think the end product is something our Mesa County organization can embrace fully,” he said.

The one-page plan includes mission and vision statements, a list of six guiding values and eight statements that reflect what the commissioners define as success.

The vision statement specifically mentions economic development in describing Mesa County as a “magnet for business opportunity.”

Integrity, liberty and service are among the values guiding county operations, Justman said. “These values are extremely important to me.”

In the end, county commissioners and staff must strive to meet the needs of the population, he added. “We are Mesa County taxpayers serving Mesa County taxpayers.”

In terms of defining success, Pugliese said public safety remains a priority not only in creating a safe environment for Mesa County residents, but also attracting businesses.

Delivering what she described as “core” county services in an efficient manner remains imperative as well, she added.

Aquafresca said investing county tax revenues in public infrastructure remains important not only in maintaining safe roads and bridges, but also providing a good environment in which to do business as well as promoting business and job growth. “That’s always been a priority of mine,” he said, adding that Justman and Pugliese agree with him.

In a broader sense, economic prosperity depends on the success of the community in encouraging business expansion and startups and job growth, Aquafresca said.

To that end, Mesa County will continue to work with such groups as the Grand Junction Economic Partnership and local chambers of commerce to promote business growth, he said.

The county also will continue to pursue what previously was called an “open for business” initiative to lower taxes and fees, streamline planning processes and pursue regulatory policies that are conducive to a healthy business environment, he added.


Phil Castle is editor of the Grand Valley Business Times, a twice-monthly business journal published in Grand Junction. Castle brings to his duties nearly 30 years of experience in editorial management positions with Western Colorado newspapers. In addition, his free-lance work has appeared in a variety of publications, including the Washington Post. He holds a bachelor's degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University.
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Posted by on Jun 27 2013. Filed under Business News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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