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New part-time position discussed

Bethlehem, IDA would partner to form economic development job

— The Town of Bethlehem and its Industrial Development Agency may soon be partnering to hire a new, part-time employee to work on economic development.

Supervisor John Clarkson discussed the idea with the Town Board at a Wednesday, May 8, meeting after previously getting the preliminary approval of IDA members. The individual would act as a “single point of contact” for developers looking to bring new projects to the town.

“Mike Morelli is the director of both economic development and planning, and as you can tell ... he has many, many things on his plate,” said Clarkson.

Although Morelli constantly promotes the town’s economic activity in his daily duties, Clarkson said, there is no staff member solely responsible for economic development within the town. Morelli acts as the contact person for developers, but Clarkson said he and the IDA would like to see a more proactive campaign.

The IDA had gone before the Town Board last year with a plan to hire a consultant to work in a similar capacity. Clarkson said at the time he supported the concept. However, after interviewing several individuals and groups, the IDA tabled the idea after not hearing a proposal that would fit the town’s needs.

Clarkson outlined the idea of hiring a part-time employee to work on economic development in his State of the Town address. The cost of hiring an additional employee would be paid for mostly through closing costs collected on IDA projects. It is expected through the partnership, the town would pay about $10,000 of the person’s salary, but the exact details of the contract still have to be worked out by the town and the IDA.

Clarkson said the position is not expected to be permanent and the employee would serve at the will of both the Town Board and IDA. The person’s contract would be reviewed each year, and if either entity felt the person wasn’t working up to their potential, the position would be eliminated.

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