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Spa County IDA to work with both economic development agencies

Spa County IDA to work with both economic development agencies

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will work with both the county’s rival economic de

The Saratoga County Industrial Development Agency will work with both the county’s rival economic development organizations, the Saratoga County Prosperity Partnership and Saratoga Economic Development Corp.

The IDA board on Tuesday approved agreements with both organizations, following months of negotiations, formalizing a working relationship with both.

Under the Prosperity Partnership contract, any written requests for information that come to the IDA from potential applicants will be referred to the Prosperity Partnership alone, but verbal inquiries will be referred to both agencies.

The Prosperity Partnership, set up by the county in 2014 to market the county, had sought the exclusive right to bring projects to the IDA, but dropped that demand, which would have frozen SEDC out of using the IDA.

“I’m looking to see the two organizations do their best to bring us as many applications as possible and as many jobs as possible,” said IDA board member Andrea DiDomenico.

The IDA has the authority to grant property tax exemptions and other tax breaks to encourage businesses to locate in or expand in the county, but generally applicants work with an economic development organization as they go through the process.

For the last 18 months both organizations have been bringing applications to the IDA, though there was no formal agreement with the Prosperity Partnership.

The SEDC performed economic development marketing for the county for 35 years, but the county and SEDC broke in 2013 over questions about control of the organization and broader economic development strategy for the county.

SEDC has continued to market the county to business prospects, and recently said it was responsible during the first six months of 2016 for bringing the county $18.6 million in investment and nearly 300 jobs.

The working relationship with the IDA is particularly important to SEDC because it receives a fee based on the value of the application each time a business application is approved.

The Prosperity Partnership is also entitled to the fee, but plans to rebate it to the applicants, said Prosperity Partnership President Marty Vanags. The partnership receives funding from the county room occupancy tax, which SEDC does not.

“We believe the cost to business should be as little as possible,” Vanags said.

The pair of agreements will allow the IDA to work with any organization it believes can help with economic development, said IDA Chairman Rod Sutton.

“This is language we thought was necessary to keep the avenues of communication open with anyone willing to assist economic development in Saratoga County,” Sutton said,

SEDC President Dennis Brobston said he’s happy to have the contracts resolved.

“It gives us an opportunity to do our work and it clarifies things for the public,” he said.

He said SEDC is working with about a half-dozen potential applicants.

“We just need to get back to doing our business,” Brobston said. “We wasted months on this discussion.”

The IDA board met at the Wilton Town Hall.

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

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