Tuesday, April 27, 2010

'Economic development' entities: useful tools or patronage factories?

I'd love to know why the city of Glens Falls (GF) spends so much money on so many different "economic development"-type entities. In addition to the Urban Renewal Agency (which may have a distinct purpose), the city also has:

-The Greater GF Local Development Corporation
-The GF Industrial Development Agency

... which largely duplicate the following county-level organizations...

-The Warren County Economic Development Corporation
-The Warren/Washington County Industrial Development Agency

... in addition to several economic development related positions inside City Hall itself...

-An economic/community development director (held by former mayor Ed Bartholomew)
-An economic development consultant (was Ken Green until he resigned following to DWI charges)

The city used to have a tourism coordinator (which itself mimicked the county tourism office) and a downtown events' coordinator as well, though I'm not sure if those positions are still filled.

Is all the money being spent by taxpayers of this small city on this plethora of unelected, unaccountable agencies, directors, consultants and coordinators really recouped by the work they do? Why can't all the City Hall functions be consolidated into a single position and the quasi-public agencies folded into their county counterparts? Do any business owners know what these entities are doing to validate their existence? In the midst of this economic tumult in a city with already high property taxes, I'd love to see hard economic numbers justifying all this apparent duplication.

1 comment:

PlanetAlbany said...

Good points, although be careful what you wish for. There's nothing bureaucrats like better than issuing reports to justify their own existence. But my old acquaintance Ed Bartholomew has done some things for the city, and might again.