Citizen Voices officials said economic development needs to be supported to increase the area’s tax base and provide young people with opportunities and options to live in the area.
In January, Mathes, past executive of the Greene County IDA, was hired as a consultant to lead the IDA, and Elizabeth Horvath of Cooperstown was named chief operating officer.
They were introduced as a team by state Sen. James Seward, R-Milford, and IDA board Chairwoman Sharon Oberriter. In March 2012, Seward had hosted an economic development summit, and at a follow-up meeting in November, several needs were identified, including a designated or “single contact” to field inquiries by companies interested in the area and the identification and preparation of sites “shovel-ready” for construction.
The IDA was named as the key, single point of contact for economic development in December.
Economic development needs and issues have been raised by a variety of public officials and groups. Citizen Voices, the Otsego County and Cooperstown chambers of commerce, the Greater Oneonta Economic Development Council and the Oneonta Community Alliance are organizations advocating for initiatives.
Mathes said Wednesday that he has met a “tremendous” number of people since he started with the IDA. Horvath explained that she has been working “behind the scenes.”
“There is a groundswell of enthusiasm and opportunity in the county,” Horvath said. “We’re off to a good start.”
The IDA’s goal is private-sector job growth, Mathes said, and the IDA board has agreed to a pending lease of office space on the fifth floor of 189 Main St., Oneonta. The IDA has been housed in the county office building in the city.
Companies seeking to locate in the area will have questions about the local workforce, transportation resources and educational institutions, Mathes said. The next questions will be about housing, medical services, financial institutions and other resources to support the company, its employees and potential growth, he said.