Saratoga County

Saratoga County IDA sets meeting to sort out SEDC, Prosperity ties

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will hold a special meeting March 23 to sort out i

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will hold a special meeting March 23 to sort out its relationship with the county’s two competing economic development organizations.

The IDA has had a 36-year relationship with the Saratoga Economic Development Corp., but the newer Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership is seeking to replace it as the county’s primary economic development marketer.

At stake is a significant amount of revenue for organizations that successfully bring projects to the IDA for financing — as much as $50,000 per application for a major project.

The IDA has been negotiating with the Prosperity Partnership for months over an agreement in which the partnership would bring business prospects to the IDA.

The IDA has had such an agreement with the SEDC, but the Prosperity Partnership is seeking an exclusive relationship — one that would, in effect, force the IDA to cut its relationship with the SEDC.

“The idea is to unify economic development activity in the county,” said Prosperity Partnership President Marty Vanags.

During initial negotiations last fall, IDA board members resisted the idea of dealing exclusively with the partnership, but two of the IDA’s seven members have been replaced by the county Board of Supervisors since then.

“This is a game-changer for the county,” IDA Chairman Rod Sutton said. “We need to sit down and discuss the pros and cons. It is ripe for discussion.”

The county Board of Supervisors established the Prosperity Partnership in 2014, after the board ended its 35-year relationship with the SEDC after SEDC officials refused to put a supervisor on its board of directors. County officials said they wanted to have more control over the county’s economic development planning. The members of the partnership’s board are appointed by the supervisors, whereas SEDC selects its own directors.

SEDC, which is a private, nonprofit organization independent of the county, is continuing to market the county to business prospects.

SEDC President Dennis Brobston said Monday that the organization is currently working with three businesses that could potentially come before the IDA to seek economic development incentive packages.

The IDA’s special meeting will be at 8 a.m. Wednesday, March 23, at the county Planning Department offices in Ballston Spa.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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