January 18, 2019

HUDSON — Columbia County officials are considering renewing its $460,000 contract with the Columbia Economic Development Corp. for 2019.

Corporation President and CEO F. Michael Tucker asked the county to approve the 2019 contract with CEDC, which makes economic development investments in the county, at the county’s Economic Development Committee meeting Monday.

The committee unanimously approved the contract and it will be left to the full board’s consideration in February.

The contract is for the same amount as the county provided the agency in 2018. The sum was included in the county’s 2019 budget that was passed by the Board of Supervisors in December. The board did not formally approve the contract at the end of last year.

“CEDC values its relationship with Columbia County and the Board of Supervisors, not only from the funding perspective, but for the high level of interaction CEDC and the county have in promoting job growth and economic vitality for residents and businesses,” Tucker said Thursday. “It is a great partnership, and CEDC’s board, and its staff, look forward to continuing to work together with the supervisors and county departments as the county’s designated economic development organization.”

The CEDC helps businesses and the county apply for grants for economic development-related projects such as the county’s planned $9.2 million connection of the Gerald R. Simons Commerce Park with Greenport’s Wastewater Treatment Center, or to apply for a $275,000 grant to help local telecommunications company GTel Teleconnections of Germantown expand its broadband services.

“CEDC administers a Small Business Administration Microloan program and a Columbia County revolving loan fund to help local businesses expand by providing funds for working capital, inventory, supplies, furniture or fixtures, and machinery or equipment,” Tucker said. “In addition to helping businesses with financing, CEDC provides business planning services as part of the SBA Microloan Program and has compiled a comprehensive list of resources for entrepreneur and startup companies to help grow from the early stages to a mature company.”

CEDC provided technical assistance to more than 75 start up and existing businesses and closed seven Columbia County Revolving Loans in 2018, totaling $205,000, and 12 Small Business A Micro Loans, totaling more than $165,000, Tucker said.

The CEDC has increased its worth in assets in the last year by 10 percent, as of Dec. 31, from about $3.25 million at the end of 2017 to about $3.57 million by the end of 2018, according to the agency’s balance sheet provided to supervisors Monday.

The agency has about $1.34 million available to lend as of the end of 2018 and $270,218 in general reserve funds.

“CEDC under the leadership of Mike Tucker and Tony Jones has been doing a exceptionally good job for the county, and has developed comprehensive and transparent communications with the Economic Development Committee,” said Ancram Town Supervisor Arthur Bassin, a member of the Economic Development Committee. “The committee sees a level of financial and operational detail each month that allows it to contribute to the CEDC’s work, and to admire their successes. We are very lucky to have such an effective agency supporting economic development across the county.”

Richard Moody Columbia-Greene Media