With a forty-five thousand dollar salary in place for the City of Amsterdam Administrator of Economic Development, a search for the proper candidate will soon take place. During last night’s Common Council Meeting, Corporation Counsel Gerard DeCusatis referred to the city charter when reminding the Alderman, the position is filled by Mayoral appointment. Let’s take a look at what the charter states the duties of the Administrator of Economic Development really are. Some people will be in for a few surprises.
Community and Economic Development Department (§ C-149 – § C-150)
[Added 5-20-1997 by L.L. No. 5-1997]
Establishment of Department.
A Community and Economic Development Department shall be headed by an Administrator appointed by the Mayor, with Common Council approval, for a term of office coterminous with the Mayor’s term, to serve at the Mayor’s pleasure.
Duties of Administrator.
The duties of the Administrator shall be as follows:
A. To act as a full-time administrator of the Urban Renewal Agency and Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency offices to ensure a coordinated and comprehensive approach to community and economic development within the City of Amsterdam.
B. To develop and administer a combined and integrated staff to support the Urban Renewal Agency, Amsterdam Industrial Development Agency and other community-based programs recognized by the Common Council.
C. To administer and keep detailed financial records according to generally accepted accounting principles for each of the above respective departments, programs and volunteer initiatives.
D. To aggressively seek, prepare, review and administer all aspects of grants sought by the City of Amsterdam and maintain detailed financial and administrative records of every grant received by the City.
E. To appoint, with the Mayor’s approval, project managers when grant budgets permit for various projects that may come under the jurisdiction of this Department, after seeking the advice of the Board of Directors of the agency involved.
F. To oversee all volunteer community-based initiatives, recognized by resolution of the Common Council, and to provide administrative services and technical support to the various community-based initiatives so recognized.
G. To coordinate the financial affairs of the Community and Economic Development Department with the City Controller.
H. To assist the City Planning Commission in updating the City’s current Master Plan.
I. To advise and coordinate with City and county planning offices.
J. To undertake any other community and economic development duties deemed necessary by the Mayor.
Full-time administrator of both Amsterdam Urban Renewal and Amsterdam Industrial Development Agencies and act as accountant for both agencies!
Develop and administer staff for both offices any other community based projects recognized by the Common Council.
To develop and administer grants. Why did the budget just pass with separate funding for a grant writer?
What Mayor Ann Thane thinks the job description should be:
CEDD Draft Job Description
The City’s Community & Economic Development Department provides leadership and technical assistance to business, residents and elected officials to:
- Provide direction and momentum for revitalization of the City’s commercial and industrial areas;
- Maintain a business friendly and investment friendly atmosphere to encourage economic development;
- Provide a system for sustainable development and preservation of the City’s historic fabric;
- Develop and support activities and programs that increase the quality of life in the City of Amsterdam
The CEDD is responsible for the areas of economic development, planning, downtown redevelopment, historic preservation and physical regeneration of the City. This includes retail and industrial development assistance, staff support to City boards and not-for-profit community organizations, marketing, comprehensive plan and zoning ordinance revisions, and historic landmark designation.
MAJOR SERVICE ACTIVITIES
- Assist new and existing businesses with expansion or retention projects.
- Develop and Assist a Downtown Amsterdam Business Improvement District (BID).
- Provide staff support to the Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Micro-enterprise Committee.
- Develop/update marketing materials for ongoing economic development in the City.
- Provide development planning services.
- Administer the City’s business loan fund and other grant programs.
- Support the city’s cultural heritage and other tourism efforts.
- To undertake any other community and economic development duties deemed necessary by the Mayor.
- Business Data Tracking
- Business Outreach and Retention
- Project and Contract Management
- New Business and Business Expansion Entitlement Processing
- Liaison Between the Local Business Community and City Resources
- Overall Management of Marketing and Economic Development Efforts
The Department of Community Development will provide a number of services to make the process of opening or expanding a business as easy as possible. The Department will provide direction on what permits are needed and who needs to be contacted. The Department will act as a liaison with other economic development agencies such as the Amsterdam Industrial Agency, Amsterdam Urban Renewal Agency, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, Montgomery County Industrial Development Agency, and the Empire Zone, and act as an advocate for businesses with other city departments.
Revolving Loan Fund
The Department of Community Development will develop and administer a City Loan Fund. Businesses that create or retain jobs in the City of Amsterdam may be eligible for assistance. Example: A business can obtain loans of up to $30,000 for equipment, real estate acquisition or improvements, or working capital. Loans can be obtained for to 5 up years. Current rates may be the prime rate -1 for targeted businesses such as manufacturing and niche retail or restaurants. Other businesses receive a prime +1 rate. Decisions on loans will made by a committee of local peers who run businesses or live in Amsterdam.
At last night’s meeting of the Common Counsel she added Communications to include updating the City’s website to that list.
The Common Council needs to decide if the job description in the Charter should be changed. If left to her own devices, Queen Ann would have the poor Administrator at her beck and call. A personal servant to walk two steps behind her and to the left to pick up anything she may have dropped along the way.