County selects new economic development director

Cache County's new economic Development director will be Shawn Milne of Tooele, who will be resigning from the Tooele County Commission to accept that position.

CACHE COUNTY – Shawn Milne of Tooele has been hired as Cache County’s new Economic Development Director, according to County Executive Craig Buttars.

Buttars made that announcement during the regular meeting of the Cache County Council on Tuesday, adding that Milne will assume his new duties in early December.

“Shawn has been the chairman of the Utah Association of Councils and Commissioners,” Buttars explained. “He’s done a great job this past year and I think he’s the kind of leader that can direct our economic development efforts here in Cache County.”

Milne is well-known to council members, who laughed when Buttars added that Milne would probably appear at the panel’s second meeting in December to “… say a few words.”

“Don’t laugh at that,” the county executive replied. “I’m not lying. I think that Shawn can actually say a few words, depending on how you define ‘a few’.”

Milne is a 2001 graduate of Westminster College. He settled in Tooele shortly after that to start a small business that installed residential and commercial audio, home theater, phone and security systems.

After gaining experience with economic development efforts while serving on the Tooele City Council and the Tooele City Redevelopment Agency, Milne joined the Tooele County commission in 2013. As a commissioner, his assignments included overseeing that county’s economic development and tourism activities.

In his new role, Milne will be assisted by an 11-member panel appointed in June to serve as the county’s economic development advisory board.

Appointment of that board was the first step toward Cache County’s participation in Utah’s new Rural County Grant Program.

That program was established by the passage of Senate Bill 95 during the 2020 General Session of the Legislature. That measure – sponsored by Sen. Scott Sandall, R-Tremonton – was intended to address a widening gulf in commercial growth between Utah’s rural and metropolitan areas.

To begin adjusting the balance of Utah’s economic development, Senate Bill 95 created a pair of taxpayer-supported grant programs for the state’s rural counties, totaling $10 million each year. Each of Utah’s 24 counties would receive at least $200,000, with the option to compete for up to $1 million that would go toward locally developed projects.

Funding for the Rural County Grant Program is being reallocated from the now-defunct Utah Science, Technology and Research Initiative (USTAR).

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