Saratoga County officials have launched what’s expected to be a national search for a consultant to write a multi-year economic development strategy for the county.
The county purchasing department on Tuesday began advertising for a consultant to come in and evaluate the county’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats and prepare a comprehensive strategic plan by December.
“We’re really committed to doing a national search and bringing in a level of expertise we haven’t had in our working group,” said Clifton Park Supervisor Anita M. Daly, chairwoman of the county’s Capital Resources Corp.
Since the county in May broke with its longtime economic development partner, the Saratoga Economic Development Corp., county officials have talked about developing a new kind of economic development blueprint.
In late May, the county hired E.M. Pemrick & Co. of Ballston Lake to write the request for proposals that was released Tuesday. Responses are due to the county administrator’s office in Ballston Spa by Monday, July 22.
Pemrick was paid $7,400; there is no indication at this point what the plan will cost.
In the plan, the consultant will be asked to discuss such issues as where new roads, water and sewer lines are needed to encourage industrial development and what can be done to revive business interest in the mostly vacant Luther Forest Technology Campus in Malta and Stillwater.
The plan is being developed even as the county continues to grow and have one of the lowest unemployment rates in New York state.
Saratoga County has been among the fastest-growing counties in the state since World War II, with the 1950-2000 period dominated by the evolution of rural towns into bedroom communities. But in the past several years, there has been an influx of high-tech jobs with the construction of the GlobalFoundries computer chip plant in Luther Forest and the arrival of dozens of technology support and supply companies.
The request for proposals notes, however, that agriculture and tourism are going to continue to be leading sectors of the economy.
“It is Saratoga County’s intention to engage proven experts to develop a world-class Economic Development Strategic Plan and identify an appropriate organizational structure to execute that blueprint beginning in 2014,” the RPF states.
The document says the goals of the plan include increasing the tax base, promoting investment and creating jobs in local communities over a five- to 10-year period.
The consultant will be asked to get input from county supervisors, business leaders, economic development and tourism organizations, chambers of commerce, workforce investment boards, education providers and state economic development officials.
The consultant will be asked to recommend a new organizational structure, outside of county government, for trying to achieve the plan’s goals.
The plan developed by the consultant will be subject to approval by the Board of Supervisors.
The county, which has contracted with the SEDC for economic development marketing since 1978, is cutting its ties with the group as of Dec. 31.