IDA formulating plan to attract businesses

FEMA to buyout 26 porperties

The Essex County Board of Supervisors

The Essex County Board of Supervisors Photo by Keith Lobdell.

The Essex County Industrial Development Agency is working to attract more businesses here.

During the Dec. 10 Economic Development, Planning and Publicity Committee meeting, IDA Director Carol Calabrese said her agency was working on a new plan to help attract business to the county.

“The IDA staff and board have been working on developing a very aggressive and creative plan,” Calabrese said. “We continue to work with our partners and we have developed a program that targets specific industry sectors that directly markets from the expansion of companies into Essex County.”

Calabrese said that once the plan is finalized, the IDA will present it to the members of the county Board of Supervisors.

Also during the meeting, County Deputy Manager Mike Mascarenas announced that 26 properties deemed “substantially damaged” under the FEMA buyout program have been approved on a preliminary basis.

“There has to be a public notice put out and a 15-day comment period before the official approval is granted, which I do not see being a problem,” Mascarenas said. “That was for $2.6 million, and I am expecting that we will get that full amount.”

He said that the properties that are designated as non-substantial damage had not been ruled on as of yet.

“The non-substantial damage properties are on a different application, and they are being held up because of what is going on with Sandy,” Mascarenas said.

Jay Supervisor Randy Douglas said he was thankful for the work that Mascarenas had done.

“Without your efforts and the efforts of the county attorney, we would not be where we are now,” he said. “We owe you a lot of credit. This process is so lengthy and so tedious. You did a good job.”

Douglas added that he knew there was still work to be done.

“I see what is going on with Sandy, and I see their false hope that it will just be three or six months,” Douglas said. “It has been over a year and a half and we are finally starting to see some results.”

In addition, Soil and Water Management Director Dave Reckahn said that his department finally got the go-ahead to start the cleanup operation at the Land of Make Believe in Upper Jay. He said that the process needs to be completed in six weeks, but he expects the process to only take three.

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