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Rocky Mountain Power presented the Four County Alliance of Southeast Idaho (4-CASI) with $2,000 last week. the funds are used by 4-CASI to support economic growth and job creation in Bear Lake County, Caribou County, and Oneida County as well as Clifton and Preston in Franklin County. It is a public-private partnership, and 4-CASI thanks Rocky Mountain Power and Preston City for supporting this important organization,” said executive director Kathy Ray.

She works closely with Shawn Oliverson, Preston City’s economic development and planning and zoning director. Last year, Ray and Oliverson worked together to help Production Technologies relocate to Preston from Logan, Utah, by helping them to acquire the Tax Reimbursement Incentive from the Idaho State Tax Commission. The company also benefited from the Franklin County’s property tax forgiveness incentive and the city’s incentives. The combination of these incentives facilitated the company’s move, bringing a potential for almost 100 new employment opportunities to Preston and Franklin County, said Ray.

4-CASI focuses on business retention, expansion and attraction. The program also assists existing businesses, at no cost, with specific needs such as business plan development, marketing, growth projections and analysis, cost analysis, strategies, employment, and a connection to inexhaustible resources. 4-CASI also coordinates and writes grants for workforce development, feasibility studies, public infrastructure improvement projects, value added projects and energy efficiency, for example.

In December 2020, 4-CASI accessed $840,896 for broadband development in Clifton and Oxford. These grants provide access to high-speed internet to residents and small businesses that normally would be overlooked for internet upgrade due to a lack of return on investment. In the past, $300,000 in grant funds were secured by the program for the road improvement and broadband development at the Preston Industrial Park.

4-CASI provides information and contacts for financing options for business development and or capital investment through USDA, SICOG, SBA and local banks. 4-CASI and Preston City sponsored grants from USDA for a hotel feasibility study. They also met with BriMark Builders and Cobblestone Hotels as an investigation in to building a hotel in Preston. The studies have been used a number of times as developers consider building in Preston.

4-CASI is a connection point for businesses with local, regional and state resources. Ray has information on the Payment Protection Program and Economic Injury Development Loans that are funded through the two stimulus packages and helps investigate business partnerships and help in areas such as mentoring, contracting of goods and services, procurement, exporting, conferences, and other specific business needs.

On the high school level, Ray was involved in state and regional workforce initiatives such as “Your Future in Technology,” which has presented at Preston High School the past five years. A number of scholarships were given to West Side and Preston high school students through that program.

Currently 4-CASI is working with the Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation on developing its interpretive center in Franklin County. An Idaho Gem Grant funded a turning lane study for Highway 91 as the tribe develops plans for the center. Over $11,000,000 in construction costs and employment is anticipated from the project over the next two years. Kathy is also working with SEITec to help develop apprenticeship programs for Preston and West Side school districts.

Ray can be reached at at 208-317-1827 or email Oliverson can be reached at 208-852-1817.

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