On the town’s website Homepage is a Public Notice soliciting people to apply for appointment to the soon to be created Hartford Economic Corporation (or Local Development Corp).
The type of people we are soliciting are those with backgrounds, experience and knowledge in the business world. If you are a House Husband that is tired of baking cookies and you want to volunteer and contribute to your town, this might not be for you, unless you were a financial guru in your past life. This board will be a non-compensated board (no pay) and may have 5, 7, or more members depending on how much luck we have getting responses.
In order to promote the right type of growth and bring desirable businesses to the town, we need to be proactive in going out and finding these opportunities. Sitting back and waiting for them to arrive has not worked so hot for us so far. With this economy it is double wishful thinking that businesses will come on their own.
You may note that members of the Hartford Planning board are excluded from being members of the EDC Board. I have been asked a few times why this is since they are sort of related. My best answer explaining why is in this comparison; Imagine that there is a bridge into town and we are trying to woo new businesses to cross over that bridge and enter/settle in Hartford. The EDC is the group that would be standing on our side of the bridge woo’ing them to cross. The Hartford Planning Board would be the Troll that lives under the bridge.
Not to besmirch the Planning Board as that really is their function. They require site plan reviews and other certain criteria and to ask a person to be a member of both boards and to donn completely different hats is asking too much in my opinion. You simply cannot be both good cop and bad cop. That is the system of checks and balances and is needed.
It is still unknown if we should create an EDC or a LDC. It all depends on the subtle difference between the two and what would best fit to accomplish the goals. I’d like to first have this EDC Board appointed by the Town Board and then figure it out with members of the EDC Board doing homework, meeting with Wash. Co. LDC and then advising the Town what direction we should take. Then we create the entity that best fits Hartford.
For year 1 there is $10,500 in the budget to create and operate the EDC. About $8,000 will be needed for the legal paperwork end and then the remainder $2,500 will be for operating expenses. Then after that it might take about $2,000 per year for operations?
Even though the funding for the EDC comes from the Town and the members of the EDC Board are appointed by the Town Board, the EDC will be an autonomous unit independent of the political whims of the Town Gov’t. This is because the EDC is Incorporated.
Hartford’s EDC will not be the type to lend money. It simply will not have enough to do this on Town Funding alone. But rather it will be the type that may administer pass thru grant money for start up businesses, etc. Many times, in order for a business to qualify for this funding, an EDC or similar is needed to administer the money.
Does Washington County have an LDC that could do this? Yes they do but they are focused on the county as a whole and Hartford’s EDC will be focused only on Hartford. The best way to affect our local employment, development, and tax base is to do it ourselves if possible.