MASSENA The Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena has received assurances from both the village and town of twice as much funding in the next two years.
Massena officials have been discussing the BDCs future following the resignation of Executive Director Jason A. Clark. The town and village each now provide $30,000 to the jointly funded BDC. But the BDCs annual budget is approximately $130,000, and if current spending patterns continue, the organization could run out of reserves by 2014.
Earlier this month, the village, town and BDC boards held a joint meeting about the entity. The BDC needs to know whether it should begin the search for a new executive director, and wanted assurances of adequate funding before doing so, officials said.
On Aug. 15, the Town Council voted 3-1, with John F. Macaulay dissenting, to approve $60,000 in 2013 and 2014, instead of the $30,000 provided this year. And while the village Board of Trustees did not vote on an increase at Tuesdays meeting, at least three of its members agree with doubling their contribution to the BDC as well, to $60,000 for 2013 and 2014. The BDC board recently agreed to reduce its spending to $120,000 next year, creating a balanced budget in 2013.
Treasurer Daniel E. Case said another $30,000 in expenses equals an additional .08 cents on the property tax rate for next year, if everything else from this years budget were to stay the same.
Mayor James F. Hidy previously had been a critic of the BDC and Mr. Clark. But Massena needs to fund an effort like the BDC to attract businesses, expand its tax base and generate revenue, he said.
If we dont find a revenue stream in this community through economic development ... we may have to cut services out, he said.
Providing the BDC with funding was better than doing nothing, Mr. Hidy said.
Sitting around with your thumb where you dont want it is even worse, he said. Were going to do whats right at the end of the day.
Trustee Patricia K. Wilson said the village needed to contribute as much to the jointly funded agency as the town promised a week earlier.
If the town is going to put $60,000, I think the village should put $60,000, she said.
On Friday, Trustee Francis J. Carvel said he too was in favor of expanding funding, as long as the BDC begins producing results in two years. Those results could range from attracting jobs to Massena to revitalizing downtown and completing a long-discussed rail spur in the industrial park.
It has to be shown that we got a bang for the buck, he said. We need some definite results for me to look at it any further than two years.
Mr. Carvel said he hoped higher-than-anticipated sales tax revenue could help pay for the additional BDC expense. The village board did not vote on BDC funding as the Town Council did because members will not begin working on the next budget until February, officials said. The Town Council starts its next budget season at the end of September.
Theres really no reason to vote on it right now, Mr. Carvel said.
BDC board member Larry Ralston said the village, town and BDC should hash out measurable results for the economic development agency. That way, they can revisit the expectations two years from now and determine whether to continue funding the agency.
That is an important element, he said. Youre between a rock and a hard place with your budget.