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As part of the proposed town budget, the Economic Development Commission is asking for a part-time employee to be used as a liaison between the Clinton business community and the town, to drive progress. The Harbor News took a closer look at the position.
The proposed town budget of $21,261,916, goes to referendum on Wednesday, May 12. As part of that budget, $10,000 will be earmarked for a part-time economic development coordinator.
Earlier in 2021, Town Manager Karl Kilduff said of the position, “The intent of the position would be to better connect with existing businesses to understand their needs [and] growth opportunities and aid in navigating the process to foster expansion of existing businesses in Clinton. It builds on a process for the town to be a better partner with the business community.”
EDC Chair John Allen said the coordinator will be in Clinton one day a week for eight hours should the proposed budget pass at referendum.
The position is one he has long advocated for especially because he says there are limitations to what the all-volunteer EDC can handle.
“The person will keep in contact with [town businesses], seeing what the tenor is, what regulations need to be changed, what the town needs,” said Allen.
The coordinator will stay in contact with the business community and provide feedback to the town. Allen said the person will need a solid understanding of business climate both in town and in the state so he or she can make helpful insights.
Allen said the decision was made to hire a professional for the role in order to make it as fair as possible.
“We didn’t want to make it a political position and we didn’t want to put more of an onus on the town manager to do it,” said Allen.
The coordinator will serve as a point person that businesses know they can call during business hours with questions and concerns.
The town once did have a similar position in place though the Connecticut Economic Resource Center, but that organization changed its offerings and mission so the position no longer existed in Clinton. Allen said that bringing it back is the right move in his view.
“I believe it’s a step in the right direction,” he said. “They can definitely help make the town more business friendly.”
The town budget goes for a vote on May 12. If the budget passes, the EDC coordinator will be hired as a part of the fiscal year that begins in July.