MASSENA The president of the Greater Massena Chamber of Commerces board of directors said he doesnt see any immediate partnership between his organization and the Business Development Corporation for a Greater Massena based on what he heard at a joint town and village meeting last week.
The gist is nothing is really going to change, at least at this point. I think both the town and village will be discussing it at their individual meetings over the next several months as their budgets are created, Eric J. Gustafson told fellow board members during the chambers monthly meeting Thursday.
Hopefully well have something at our next board meeting, he said.
While there had been some rumblings about a possible partnership between the two organizations, the Massena Town Board agreed this week to fund its economic development effort at $60,000 annually for 2013 and 2014, double what it provided for the last two years. The town and village each currently provide $30,000 to the jointly funded BDC.
Mayor James F. Hidy said that, while he couldnt speak for his board, village officials also may continue their funding of the BDC now that former Executive Director Jason A. Clark has departed the organization.
Thursday was Mr. Clarks last day as head of the agency, and Mr. Hidy told chamber board members he envisioned the organization would be headed in a more fruitful direction without Mr. Clark.
He suggested that, despite the village and town contributions, there was nothing done with Mr. Clark as the executive director.
I dont want to give the BDC anything because were getting nothing. We had a guy chasing I-98 and doing nothing for the BDC. Now thats changed, Mr. Hidy said. The bottom line is changes have been made and I think theyre positive. I can only see good things coming out of it.
He said that, among their options in replacing Mr. Clark, they could work with the county, hire a consultant or hire another director to do what the town and village pay for.
He also suggested the BDC, in addition to attempting to attract new businesses to the region, needs to be more proactive with local businesses that are already here.
For the time being, Mr. Gustafson recommended the chamber put together a committee that could work with the BDC to see how things would pan out if the two organizations were partnered together.
Mr. Hidy also suggested that the chamber, like the town and village, have liaisons on the BDC who could gather information during that agencys meetings and report back to the chamber board.
More generically, it would be nice to know what the BDC is doing and the chamber could disseminate that information to its membership, Mr. Gustafson said.
Chamber Executive Director Michael J. Gleason said that what had been discussed at BDC meetings could be incorporated into the chambers monthly meeting agenda.
Lets face it, our goals are not in opposition to the BDCs. It makes sense in my opinion for the two organizations to join together in some degree, chamber board member David T. Staddon said.
But chamber board member Tina R. Corcoran said the two agencies need to maintain their individual identities.
I think the chamber and BDC have different missions, she said.