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Canton Village May Invest More Funds for Economic Development

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CANTON - Village officials are exploring the idea of allocating more funding to the Canton Economic Development Office so that a greater emphasis can be placed on downtown revitalization and business development throughout the village.

As they start crafting their 2014 budget, Mayor Mary Ann Ashley said the village board is considering increasing the $15,000 the village allocates each year toward the Office of Economic Development Director Linda M. McQuinn.

“We need to put more money into getting businesses to come to Canton and support the growth of current businesses,” Ms. Ashley said. ”As mayor, I feel the current structure needs to be reconfigured in some way and the financial investment needs to increase in the business development framework.”

Town board members and village trustees who serve on the Joint Services Committee have spent several weeks reviewing services that are jointly funded by both governments such as economic development.

Under the existing structure, the town of Canton contributes $45,000 each year toward the $74,000 contract with Ms. McQuinn, who works as an independent contractor through her company TA Smith Inc., Lisbon.

Canton Town Supervisor David T. Button said the village and St. Lawrence University each contribute $15,000 a year, while SUNY Canton provides $10,000, and United Helpers Inc. provides $5,000.

In the past, Corning Inc. and North Country Savings Bank, also made contributions, but both have withdrawn from the consortium, Mr. Button said.

In the past several years, the town has taken the lead in setting priorities for the economic development office, Mr. Button said.

Projects have included development of a waterfront revitalization plan, operation of a revolving loan fun, applications to the All-American Cities program and remediation of Brownfield sites.

“Our projects have focused on community development,” Mr. Button said. “Those projects help create an environment for growth.”

Since January when new trustees and a new mayor started their terms on the village board, the town has received greater input from the village on shared services. Besides economic development, other shared services include recreation, assessor’s office and code enforcement.

In this year’s village budget, trustees agred to provide an additional $5,000 to fund a marketing project spearheaded by Ms. McQuinn. The board also provided funding for the printing of the Canton business guide.

Mr. Button said he believes the two boards will be able to find common ground in terms of developing priorities for the community.

“I’ve been pushing for years for the village to take more interest in economic development,” Mr. Button said. The synergy between our two boards could lead us into a period of growth.”

Ms. Ashley said the shared services committee is examining the structure, costs, revenues and impact of the economic development office.

“The village board is in the budget development process and will be deliberating on this issue,” she said. “The village feels that we must invest more into business development as well as economic and community development activities as outlined in the Canton Community Action Plan.”

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