In a press release issued Thursday, SEDC said the nearly 35-year relationship “that has generated more than 17,500 jobs, $12 billion in investment and $34 million in annual tax revenue for Saratoga County,” was ended by the Board of Supervisors was “prompted by SEDC’s rejection of the request by the Board of Supervisors to include a member of the of the Board of Supervisors on the SEDC Board.”
The release further states:
On March 27, the SEDC Board voted against amending its bylaws to require that an elected official serve on its Board—a policy originally agreed to by the Board of Supervisors to ensure economic development remain free of political influence when SEDC first entered into its partnership with the County nearly 35 years ago.
Additionally, SEDC voted against amending its by-laws since the County Administrator, a non-elected official, has served on the SEDC Board for the strict purpose of keeping the Board of Supervisors apprised of economic development activities for the past 13 years.
The request was also rejected on the grounds that it could imperil confidential talks with prospective businesses. The appointment of an elected official to the SEDC Board could trigger sunshine laws that could endanger the often sensitive nature of negotiations. In an independent report titled "12 Mistakes to Avoid in Site Selection," global consulting firm Deloitte Consulting listed project confidentiality as one of the most important aspects of finding a suitable site - especially for large projects with political ramifications. As proven throughout time and across the country, successful economic development requires complete confidentiality for companies exploring new markets.
As a result of the decision by the SEDC Board, the Board of Supervisors chose to cut off funding to SEDC at the end of 2013 - a contract that had been renewed on an annual basis since 1978. In recent years, financial support from the Board of Supervisors made up approximately 25 percent of SEDC's annual operating budget.
Published reports from yesterday's decision mentioned that SEDC has a number of goals and objectives and that the organization focused more on the needs of its contributors. SEDC has steadfastly and unequivocally committed itself to furthering the economic development needs of Saratoga County. From its inception SEDC has been a membership based organization created to leverage funding from both private and public sources. Our members believe supporting the economic growth of our County is critical to the overall success of the business community and their partnership has provided more than financial support.
The only objective SEDC believes in is its mission statement:
To create jobs and diversify and increase the tax base, while improving the quality of life for the residents of Saratoga County. We accomplish this through the retention of existing businesses, attraction of new industries, and improving our product-Saratoga County, New York.
“The press release from the Board of Supervisors also refrained from communicating SEDC's greatest investment achievement, the creation of Luther Forest Technology Campus (LFTC) and the attraction of GLOBALFOUNDRIES to the County. SEDC's Board was the founding force of the LFTC and supported the regional strategy to attract semiconductor manufacturing by investing over $1 million in early engineering studies to prove the LFTC could be home to this fantastic industry. We have seen the arrival of at least 21 supply chain companies to support GLOBALFOUNDRIES. The vision for hi-tech manufacturing that SEDC created in Saratoga County is paying off and will create jobs for the residents of the County and the Region for years to come.
“SEDC's other major accomplishments include securing such well-known companies as Ball Metal Corporation, Quad/Graphics, State Farm Insurance, Ace Hardware, Target and many small businesses, creating thousands of jobs and millions in tax revenue for Saratoga County. SEDC closed 10 other projects resulting in $49 million in investments in 2012 alone. SEDC continues negotiations on more than 50 additional projects including large companies, GlobalFoundries suppliers, agribusinesses, small business and more.
“In 1978, SEDC was tasked by the Board of Supervisors to spearhead economic development after the County had shed more than 10,000 jobs. SEDC was charged with retaining existing businesses and attracting new industry to Saratoga County. Since then, SEDC has been the first point of contact for business development in Saratoga County, providing business and real estate development services as well as project management from start to finish.
“SEDC will continue to operate on behalf of the businesses and residents of Saratoga County exclusively through private funding, including from more than 400 members, and will actively endeavor to develop additional sources of revenue. We stand ready to assist the full Board of Supervisors of Saratoga County in any way possible for the economic vitality of our County. For nearly 35 years, SEDC has worked tirelessly to bring businesses, jobs and tax dollars to Saratoga County - a mission that will continue in 2014 and beyond.”
The Saratoga County Economic Development Committee said on Wednesday they planned said they planned to form their own economic development entity.