Said Sharon Oberriter, an IDA board member: “The public-private model seems to the model that has been the most successful around the state.”
In response to a query from Rep. James Powers, R-Butternuts, as to whether natural gas production would be part of the vision for local economic development, IDA board members said it was important to reorganize first before taking specific directions.
“We can’t address that feature without addressing the structure and a pool of funding,” said Oberriter. “It’s a whole different ballgame. It’s a different inning, a different championship.”
Robert Harlem, the president of Oneonta Block Inc. and a founder of the pro-business group Citizens Voices, stressed the importance of luring private businesses that will contribute to the region’s tax base. “You have been handed a golden opportunity here with the IDA,” Harlem said. “It doesn’t matter who is going to get the credit. We all have to be pulling together.”
Barbara Ann Heegan, director of the Otsego County Chamber, and Patricia Szarpa, director of the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, both said they would be eager to assist in the repackaged economic development efforts.
“We feel that having a strategic plan would make a bold statement to the county,” Heegan said.