The Saratoga County Board of Supervisors will end its decade-long relationship with the Saratoga Economic Development Corporation at the end of 2013.
This year the county has allocated $200,000 to be spent on economic development by SEDC, a private non-profit organization that was established in 1978. Money from the county represents a significant portion of the group’s revenue, with about 30 percent of SEDC’s support coming from the county in 2011, according to the most recent tax filings available online.
It’s not clear what this decision means for the future of SEDC, which also has private donors and members. SEDC President Dennis A. Brobston did not return a voicemail on Wednesday night.
Saratoga County Board of Supervisors Chairman Alan Grattidge, R-Charlton, said the decision was a while in the making. He noted that earlier this year he pushed for a review of the county’s spending on outside agencies such as SEDC.
In 2011 the county allocated $320,000 for SEDC. In 2012 and this year only $200,000 was allocated.
Grattidge said the decision, which was announced late Wednesday afternoon, did not stem from a desire to save money and spend less on economic development. “We could spend the same amount or even more [on economic development in 2014],” he said.
Almost 10 years ago SEDC was responsible for forming the Luther Forest Technology Campus Economic Development Corporation, which led the way to the creation of the Malta home for Global Foundries. Its other efforts include the Target Northeast Distribution Center in Wilton and the Ball Metal Corporation manufacturing plant in Saratoga Springs.
Grattidge highlighted problems with the focus of SEDC, which he said has relied more and more on private funds and concentrated more and more on the needs of those contributors in recent years. He said the county should have an economic development agent that is focused on the needs of the county.
“I think they have become more of a membership-driven organization,” Grattidge said.
He added that there was a desire for the county to get more involved in the economic development decision-making process.
A plan has not been formalized for the county’s economic development dollars in 2014. Grattidge said there are a number of possibilities that will be considered during the budget process in the fall. One possible outlet for the money, he acknowledged, is the county’s new Capital Resource Corporation, which is chaired by county Supervisor Anita Daly, R-Clifton Park.