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March 13, 2014

IDA chief: Search is on for 'shovel-ready' sites

(Continued)

The IDA is working on “branding” to reflect what the county stands for and the type of companies the county wants to attract, Mathes said. The process of identifying a shovel-ready site includes having plans for water and waste-water services, Mathes said, and the State Environmental Quality Review Act process will be an expense.

Miller and Oneonta Town Supervisor Robert Wood said separately that if a company located outside the city or town, the municipalities along with the county would benefit.

Mathes said the IDA isn’t in a position to manage programs involving small businesses, micro-enterprise projects or main street initiatives, which will be for the county to address.

Clark said while the IDA focuses on mid-sized and larger businesses, the county can support small businesses.

“There is a lot of room for development in this county,” Clark said. “We need to develop a network of resources so that we can harness all the energy of entrepreneurship.”

The county board’s IGA Committee meets today and will discuss the county’s Economic Development Office, its mission, staffing and projects, Clark said. The county needs to make sure that towns crafting comprehensive plans are creating positions that are welcoming to business, she said.

The Economic Development Office has one employee, Zondra Hart, Clark said. Clark, who noted she is responsible for being a good steward of taxpayer money, said she doesn’t expect that office to be privatized.

“I’m excited about revitalizing the entire county” Clark said. “I believe the best days are ahead of us.”

Carolyn Lewis, economic development coordinator at the State University College at Oneonta, said a plan for Start-Up NY. SUNY Oneonta has been in touch with businesses. The college is reviewing criteria and resources and is expected to have a plan soon, she said.

Lewis, who formerly headed the county’s Economic Development Office and the IDA, said she was excited about the next steps the agency is taking.

“They have a good team,” she said. “They’re on the right path.”

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