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EDC wants to fund 'business intelligence' project

ALBANY, Ga. -- Albany-Dougherty Economic Development Commission President Ted Clem told EDC board members during a meeting Wednesday he would soon seek approval to use "substantial retained earnings" for projects that will further the mission of the development authority.

Clem said after the meeting that by keeping spending in check, the EDC had managed to save almost half a million dollars, funds he'd like to use to finance business intelligence and branding projects.

"We were able to save the money simply by spending less than we took in," Clem said. "Now, we'd like to use some of that money on what we're calling a business intelligence project whereby we'll have consultants not only target specific industries most likely to locate in our region, but also help us identify specific companies within those industries.

"Our Renewal Task Force is also working on a branding initiative that's going to be pretty costly, and we'd like to use these funds to help finance that initiative."

During the meeting Clem briefly discussed the EDC's pending Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which he said would offer little in the way of change when compared to previous financial plans for the commission.

"Our income is basically static; we receive $250,000 a year from our three partners (the city, county and chamber of commerce)," Clem said. "We do have a relatively small amount of other income, but we're essentially looking at a budget of $754,000. Once we figure the true costs of our new offices, we'll be able to adjust the budget to account for these costs."

The EDC staff moved out of the chamber's Broad Avenue offices into a suite at the Riverfront Resource Center on Pine Avenue last week.

The EDC's Recruitment, Retention and Renewal task forces had not met since the commission's last board meeting, but Recruitment chairman Chris Hatcher said his group is still focusing on utilization of the city's Albany Job Investment Fund, approved recently by the City Commission's Long-Term Financial Planning Committee.

The EDC's Barbara Rivera Holmes said eight members of the Retention Task Force had taken part in a tour of SASCO Chemical Group, which Clem said had been selected to be "the poster child for state international trade."

"It doesn't matter if you've toured their plant before, every time you go to SASCO they're doing something different," Holmes said. "That just shows what an innovative company they are."