County Economic Plan Calls For New LDC With Potential Annual Budget Of $500,000

March 19, 2014

By: Paul Post
Via: The Saratogian

Front Street, Ballston Spa by P_R_F via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)Front Street, Ballston Spa by P_R_F via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the Saratoga County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved the adoption of the Economic Development Strategic Plan prepared by TIP Strategies, Inc.
BALLSTON SPA, NY >> Saratoga County’s new economic development plan calls for creation of a Local Development Corp. whose operations would have a budget costing up to $500,000 per year.
The organization, governed by a board of directors and led by an executive director, would be charged with carrying out all aspects of a countywide strategy for jobs creation and growth.
The Board of Supervisors on Tuesday adopted such plans formally, nearly a year after severing ties with Saratoga Economic Development Corp. that previously handled these activities since 1978.
“This is Saratoga County’s plan,” said Supervisor Jack Lawler, of Waterford, county Economic Development Committee chairman. “This will be the true north for Saratoga County’s economic development for years to come.”
In addition to an executive director, the LDC would be staffed by a program coordinator and administrative assistant. However, there are no immediate plans for creating an LDC office, which would be subject to supervisors’ approval at a later date.
Lawler said recommendations for the LDC’s structure will likely be considered at the board’s next meeting in April.
“We have a couple options about what that might look like,” he said.
Another possibility, similar to an LDC, would be creating a public authority to oversee economic development.
The $500,000 the new initiative might cost annually is considerably more than the $300,000 to $400,000 the county had been giving SEDC.
“Economic development is too important to the taxpayers of Sartoga County without trying to put the necessary investment of resources into that effort,” Lawler said.
The new strategy would put considerable emphasis on agriculture and tourism in addition to business and industry. SEDC is primarily focused on the manufacturing sector.
County officials said last year that SEDC had not spurred enough job creation apart from GlobalFoundries at Luther Forest Technology Campus, an accusation that SEDC President Dennis Brobston strongly denied.
Brobston said Tuesday that SEDC is busy helping existing firms such as Mechanicville-based Polyset Company, which makes specialized silicones, expand exports overseas to places such as Abu Dhabi and Dubai. “We’ve been over with them,” Brobston said.
The new county plan, prepared by Austin, Texas-based TIP Strategies Inc., involved input from all supervisors and stakeholders representing key segments of the local economy.
“We took very seriously what you told us,” said Jon Roberts, TIP managing director and principal. “We also had to take seriously what the data told us.”
Last June, the county issued a request for proposals seeking a firm to create a new economic development strategy. TIP was hired in September and spent five months working on the plan, which included three visits to Saratoga County, getting input from local business and elected leaders, and touring key sites such as Luther Forest.
One visit was highlighted by three days of focus group meetings with people representing different sectors of the local economy such as agriculture, tourism, education and manufacturing.
While preparing its plan, TIP sought and considered public input obtained from an online questionnaire. The firm also met with representatives of National Grid, chambers of commerce, the county Industrial Development Agency, TEC-SMART, Empire State Development and the Center for Economic Growth.
Brobston said he met with TIP officials twice, to share information, although he was not invited to Tuesday’s formal adoption of the plan.
The LDC, once established, would be responsible for working with local government, business and economic development groups as members of a Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership. Board members would come from private business, higher education and economic development agencies.
An executive committee, of up to seven people, would include county supervisors and non-elected officials chosen from the board of directors that could have as many as 21 members. Additional advisory boards would be formed to help the board of directors work on specific projects.
The county’s new Economic Development Strategic Plan may be viewed at: www.saratogacountyny.gov.

Saratoga County Officials To Vote On Economic Development Plan

March 18, 2014

Via: The Saratogian
The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to consider a resolution adopting the first-ever countywide Economic Development Strategic Plan at 4 p.m. Tuesday.
The plan was prepared by TIP Strategies, Inc. of Austin, Texas, in consultation with every elected supervisor, dozens of stakeholders representing key segments of the local economy, and members of the general public who submitted their suggestions on a project website, a news release said.
“Tomorrow’s vote marks the culmination of five months of collaborative work focused on reinvigorating economic development efforts in Saratoga County,” said Board of Supervisors Chairman Paul Sausville. “The forward-thinking recommendations contained in the Strategic Plan will guide those efforts for the next five to ten years.”
Waterford Supervisor John E. Lawler, chairman of the board’s economic development committee, called the adoption of a plan “the first milestone” in positioning the county to “compete and grow for the next decade and beyond.”
Last year, the economic development committee began developing the plan, sending out request for proposals in June and reviewing the bids in July. TIP was hired Sept. 17, 2013.
The firm made three visits to Saratoga County over the course of five months, hosted meetings and conference calls, and received input from every major stakeholder in the local economy. The first visit in October featured meetings with key stakeholders identified by the county and tours of major sites including the Luther Forest Technology Park.
The second visit in November featured three days of focus group meetings with individuals representing the various sectors of the local economy, including agriculture, tourism, education/work force development and the county’s major employers. Those meetings also included the two chambers of commerce in the county, the county Industrial Development Agency, the Center for Economic Growth and the county Economic Development Corp.
TIP issued a preliminary report at the November board of supervisors meeting and launched a website featuring a community questionnaire designed to encourage additional public input.
TIP’s most recent visit to the county, in January, included individual meetings with every elected supervisor, an “opportunity workshop” presenting a progress report and soliciting additional feedback from dozens of prior focus group attendees, and meetings with additional regional stakeholders including TEC-SMART, National Grid, and Empire State Development.
Before the vote, TIP Managing Director and Principal Jon Roberts will make a public presentation on the Strategic Plan and solicit additional feedback from the board. Draft versions of the plan were previously approved, with suggested improvements, by the Law & Finance Committee on March 12 and the Economic Development Committee on March 5. Like those committees, the full Board will also have the opportunity to suggest improvements to the draft plan right up until the time it is adopted.