The Rotterdam Industrial Development Agency has ceded its administrative duties to the county’s development authority in an attempt to save money and spur development.
The town IDA board members agreed to pay the county IDA $2,000 per month to help oversee its operations. The change comes less than a month after Scott Krikorian, the agency’s recently hired executive director, tendered his resignation.
“We’re trying to save money and we’re trying to be more effective,” said Robert Mallozzi, the board’s chairman. “We understand the resources that the county IDA has, and we want to build on that.”
In June, Krikorian was hired to head the Rotterdam IDA, a position that paid him an annual salary of $10,000. Krikorian did not return a call for comment Thursday.
Officials from the county IDA were called to put on a presentation before Rotterdam’s board in late February. Mallozzi said the board was feeling out its options for taking the agency in a new direction after seeing a lack of economic development over the past two years.
“There hadn’t been a significant project completed by this IDA since 2007,” he said.
Rotterdam’s IDA had been the only economic development entity in Schenectady County that remained autonomous from the Metroplex Development Authority. All other similar agencies — including the county IDA —were placed under the stewardship of Metroplex after its establishment more than a decade ago.
Either the agency or the county IDA can terminate the contract with 30 days’ notice. The county IDA will also provide technical support to the town agency, which will retain its own autonomous board.
Metroplex Chairman Ray Gillen, who also serves as the commissioner of economic development and planning for the county, said the Rotterdam IDA’s contract will help the agency cut its operating costs by roughly half. He said doing so should help the agency regain its financial footing after its cost of operations ballooned from a mere $9,480 in 2007 to $121,907 in 2009.
“Looking at the historical operating expenses, we note the increases in 2009 are very high,” he said during the board’s meeting Thursday.
Gillen said the Rotterdam IDA also failed to produce any evidence of economic development gains during its spike in operating costs. Under the county IDA’s administration, he said the agency would benefit from a staff with proven experience in economic development while drastically reducing its administrative expenses.
“What we see here is the need to do a turnaround,” he said.
Mallozzi said the agreement now awaits ratification by the county. He said the board is encouraged by the county IDA’s help already and foresees the agency making real strides in bringing business to Rotterdam.
“We want to see good projects,” he said.