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The Times
  • Herkimer IDA still has marketing money from '09

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  • For the third straight year, the Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency has money left over for marketing.
    About $39,000 remains from a $150,000 marketing budget allotted to the agency in 2009, Herkimer County Administrator James Wallace said.
    Back then, the agency requested $250,000 to help with marketing efforts and improve the county’s business parks; $150,000 for marketing and $100,000 for maintenance.
    “That was certainly atypical,” said the agency’s Executive Director Mark Feane. “I think we had an aggressive board at the time. They were looking to do something on a larger scale.”
    By October 2009, about 30 percent of the funds had been spent - $42,405 on marketing and $32,637 in maintenance.
    Wallace said if the funds aren’t exhausted at the end of the year, the request goes to the Herkimer County Ways and Means Committee for a vote.
    “It’s been rolling over ever since,” he said.
    David Kidera, director of the state Authority Budget Office, said counties typically will enter into a contract with a local industrial development agency, which outlines what services will be delivered and how much they’ll cost.
    The county either has “to reappropriate funds every year … or the authorization to spend that money would have lapsed and the county would have to come up with a new budget line,” Kidera said.
    Instead of a contract, Wallace said bills are submitted by the agency to the county and the agency is reimbursed. During a meeting in August, agency board members mentioned the leftover funds.
    “This year, we’ll need to come up with a program how to best utilize those dollars to maximize the return,” Feane said. “I think a plan for the balance … was going to be discussed at the next IDA meeting to determine a path for those additional resources.”
    In past years, he said marketing money has been used for print and other media advertising, billboard advertising at the Albany airport, website upgrades and trade shows, among others. Maintenance money was spent on general upkeep of the business parks and new signage.
    This year, he said the agency spent $11,326 primarily for the airport advertising - which costs about $1,000 for three months - as well as media and Boilermaker advertising.
    Feane said marketing money also was used for maintenance on the business parks “to help with marketing the business park.”
    The maintenance money was exhausted in August 2011, Wallace said.
    Meanwhile, Feane said some marketing aspects that have been used need to be reassessed.
    “Something we have to take a hard look at is whether there is value there” with trade shows, he said. “They are a difficult return on our investment.”
    Page 2 of 2 - As of Sept. 10, $8,561.50 had been spent on trade shows in Germany, Texas, Chicago, Orlando and Las Vegas, according to numbers provided by Feane.
    Overall, though, Feane pointed to developments such as Feldmeier Equipment breaking ground at Riverside Industrial Park site in Little Falls and interest at the state Route 5S Business Park as signs for success.
    “These marketing efforts have certainly increased the level of interest in Herkimer County,” he said.
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