DerryNews.com, Derry, New Hampshire

Derry

May 1, 2014

Officials ponder need for community staffer

DERRY — The town has had its share of people through the years working on economic development issues.

But with most of that past effort falling by the wayside, some believe, it’s time to get started again and put someone in place to handle the work.

That, according to acting Town Administrator Larry Budreau, is why it’s time to try again.

Budreau reported to the Town Council that he hoped the group would consider hiring a community development coordinator as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget.

Councilors are currently working on the proposed budget and have held many workshops to discuss each town department’s request for money.

This job would cost the town an estimated salary of $112,300.

Budreau said the position falls into place with the Town Council’s established goals for the town, including “creating a supportive environment for downtown redevelopment.”

Having someone focused on the coordination of that redevelopment would be key, Budreau said.

“Derry has recognized for years that it needs to have focused attention on economic development,” he said in his message to the council.

In the past 10 years, Budreau said, the town’s efforts have included adding a community development role to planning director George Sioras’ job, hiring business development coordinator Elizabeth Thompson, followed by securing the Arnett Development Group to work on economic development. The town also put local entrepreneur George Kassas in place to come up with a plan.

None of these efforts worked, Budreau said.

“Naysayers say we have tried a number of approaches and spent a lot of money without receiving tangible results,” he said. “The trouble is, it’s not a short-term results issue. It’s about shaping the future of the community for generations to come.”

Budreau said other communities have similar people in this type of job. Derry needs to do the same, he said.

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