DERRY | It's worth $60,000 to the Derry Economic Development Corp. to quell criticism from a few councilors.

The nonprofit group that works to bring businesses to town announced Wednesday that it will not seek any money from the town for fiscal 2008. The town has contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the organization over the past 15 years.

The decision was based on criticism from some councilors over how the organization was spending the town's money, and the negative impression that may have given businesses considering moving to town, Executive Director Jack Dowd said.

"A few councilors are making so much of it, it has been detrimental to our progress," Dowd said. "It's not just a matter of them saying they don't want to fund it. It's a matter of the controversy that's creating. We feel that we need to move forward. It's not productive."

Dowd said the DEDC still plans to work closely with the town | and he didn't rule out seeking money from the town in the future.

"We're certainly not cutting ties in any way, shape or form," Dowd said. "It's hopefully to make them stronger."

The move comes after a year of wrangling among councilors about whether to hire an economic development director or give the DEDC $30,000 in town money to handle the job. In January, they voted to go with the latter.

It was a quarter of their budget, DEDC's President Joel Olbricht said.

Now, Dowd said the DEDC has enough money to run on its own, even though next year's recommended budget had increased the town's contribution to $60,000.

Several years ago, the organization formed Depot Square Holdings, a subsidiary to buy and sell property. Depot Square Holdings owns 6 W. Broadway. DEDC has an agreement with the town that netted the organization more than $400,000 from sale of property in the Ash Street corporate park. Dowd said several development corporations across the state, including Monadnock Economic Development Corp. in Keene, support themselves this way.

The sale of the fourth lot on Ash Street for $649,900, and Dowd's ability to find more grant money for marketing projects, mean the agency can run without the town's help this year.

"We don't need that funding from the town," Olbricht said. "We have, historically, told people that what we really want to do is become self-sufficient."

Councilors Kevin Coyle, Janet Fairbanks and Brent Carney have been critical of the town's continued financial support of the DEDC. Those feelings were strengthened when Dowd announced he would lead the organization just one day after resigning from the council. Coyle, Fairbanks and Carney called on councilors to stop funding the organization, and pushed for the town to hire its own economic development director, something recommended by former Town Administrator Russ Marcoux.

Yesterday, those councilors said they were pleased with DEDC's decision and said the town should look again at hiring an economic development director.

"I welcome their decision and I look forward to using my energy on creating a new position for director of economic development," Carney said.

Coyle agreed, "I'm glad they're not asking for any money. I hope this is more than just a one-time thing."

But not all councilors were pleased by the announcement.

"It's unfortunate that an organization dedicated to producing positive economic development opportunities for the town ... is unable to secure a small amount of funding without creating intense and unfounded criticism from some corners," Councilor Craig Bulkley said.

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