Oregon’s new agreement with Foundation saves money

Kelly J. Kaczala

        Oregon City Council on Monday approved an agreement with the Oregon On The Bay Regional Economic Development Foundation that will save money for the city.
        With the agreement, the director of the foundation, will no longer be an employee of the city. Alec Thompson, the new director of the foundation, and Heidi Coughlin, the Foundation’s communications specialist, will work directly for the Foundation. This will allow the city to save $20,000 to $30,000 while continuing to partner with the business community moving forward.
        The Oregon on the Bay Regional Economic Development Foundation has agreed to continue to provide services to the city for an annual amount of $100,000 per calendar year. The prorated amount for 2022 will be $81,250.
        The Oregon On The Bay Regional Economic Development Foundation was formed in 1993 for the purpose of promoting economic development in the city and to foster a healthy environment for business, development, and social media within the city.
        “Everyone is aware of the foundation and its association with the City of Oregon,” said Mayor Mike Seferian. “It gives the foundation the ability to do the usual property purchases and negotiate with different commercial ventures. The city pays for some of the financial commitment so that we can have the economic development foundation.”
        “Its primary purpose is set up by Ohio law that allowed this mechanism for our community to look at property acquisitions, to look at business and industry that is looking to locate here, and have them do it in a way they don’t have to share information with competitors,” said City Administrator Mike Beazley. “I know communities that don’t have foundations like this have a harder time interfacing with industry. That’s why council and the city in its wisdom in 1993 set up this mechanism.”
        We have changed over the years on the shape of it a few times. Historically, the employees of the foundation were employed by the foundation, on other occasions they were employed by the city. A few years ago, we switched to have them employed by the city. With this agreement, we’re switching back to the traditional system,” said Beazley.
        The city pays about $120,000 per year, including benefits, for its economic development director, said Beazley.
        “With this agreement, it will be capped at $100,000 per year,” said Beazley.
        The foundation, he added, does two things: “It brings businesses to the table and into the room and a chance to interface and relax, while the primary benefit allows for a mechanism in which an industrial developer can approach our community without necessarily sharing their information with their competitors. Without that, Oregon would not have the ability to be in the conversation as much.”
        In terms of the city’s financial commitment, the city will pay $20,000 to $30,000 less than what was budgeted originally this year, said Beazley.
        “The two new employees will have a contract with us. They will have duties to provide economic development services and also communications, marketing and website services,” he said.
        “I’m excited about what they both bring. They’re different,” said Beazley. “They are new to economic development. But that’s not unusual for positions like this. I think every economic development director of the foundation over the last 20 years brought much more experience to the table. I see it as an essential tool for the city that wants to be at the table. If we don’t have a relationship like this, the city doesn’t get to be at the table in a lot of ways because people will avoid interacting with us because they don’t want information shared with their competitors.”


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