The Chair of Southborough’s Economic Development Committee found himself in an enviable position a few weeks ago. When David McCay presented his budge to the Board of Selectmen, they told him to consider asking for more.
The EDC Chair said the committee tried to “put together a budget that would fly.” At the same time, they looked to build the groundwork for staffing in increments. They were hoping for a paid intern in the Planning Department whose duties would include supporting the EDC.
Selectman John Rooney pushed to skip the incremental steps and jump to hiring a professional. He recommended giving the option to Town Meeting voters and letting them decide.
Rooney’s position was partially prompted by McCay’s description of what other towns are doing.
McCay explained that Westborough has a part-time Economic Coordinator. (Meanwhile, Marlborough invests over $500,000 per year and Framingham has 6 staff in Economic and Community Development.) Rooney said in comparison, the budget request was bordering on insignificant.
Rooney recommended the EDC look into hiring a professional coordinator part-time. He said it was time for the board to get serious. He believed that relieving the residential tax burden requires investing in economic development. Otherwise the Town will be “continuing to run after the bus. We’re not going to have a seat on it”.
McCay told the board that he would need to go back to the EDC to discuss it. Based on the revised materials included in this week’s BOS Meeting packet, they voted in favor.
The revised budget includes $23,400 for a part-time staff position. The budget will be presented to the BOS at their meeting on Tuesday night at 7:00 pm in the Town House Hearing Room.
Updated (4/8/15 12:57 pm): Fixed misspelling of David McCay’s last name. Sorry!