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May 7, 2014

Officials: To lure funds, region needs more ideas

(Continued)

Brian Hunt, superintendent of Edmeston Central School, said his district along with at least the Milford and Laurens school districts, will apply in this CFA round for a regionalized science, technology, engineering and mathematics project in Otsego County. Such a STEM program will be important to prepare students for jobs, he said.

“We would welcome assistance,” Hunt said.

Dierdre Scozzafava, deputy director of the Department of State, said the governor’s structure of 10 regional councils has worked.

“The Regional Economic Development Councils have worked,” Scozzafava said. “Why? Because they are grass-roots driven.”

However, the councils are only one piece of the puzzle of development and available state services, for example, which can help with dissolving municipalities, setting up shared services and many other programs to reduce costs and assist communities, state officials said.

James Dean, a member of the Cooperstown Village Board, said attended the meeting because he would like Cooperstown to be a player in the larger economic development picture of Otsego County. Municipalities face providing services in an era of changing demographics, he said, and consolidating government services or establishing shared services can be difficult.

“Exactly how we do it can be challenging,” he said.

Tom O’Brien, superintendent of Roxbury Central School, said he attended Tuesday’s program to find out about different methods to increase efficiency. However, though the drive exists for greater efficiency, the vehicles offered haven’t changed, he said, and opportunities are needed that will support more innovative thinking and flexibility. 

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