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May 21, 2007 (Special Meeting) Minutes
Town of East Windsor
Economic Development Commission
11 Rye Street, P.O. Box 389
Broad Brook, CT 06016
Special Meeting Minutes
May 21, 2007

Chairman Moffett called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex, 25 School Street, Warehouse Point, CT.

I.      ESTABLISHMENT OF QUORUM

Members Present:        Chairman Eric F. Moffett, Richard Covill, Jim Richards,
Matt Crossen

Members unable      Josh Kapelner, Michael Maloney, Sharon Aprea
to attend:

Also in attendance:  Laurie Whitten, Director of Planning & Development

                
II.     GENERAL DISCUSSION

 MetroHartford Alliance (MHA) Membership

Preceding the April 23rd meeting of the EDC, there was a luncheon meeting at the MHA office in Hartford to find out more information regarding membership into the MetroHartford Alliance.  The attendees from the MHA were: Jeff Vose, John Shimo and Sandra Johnson; attendees from East Windsor were:  Chairman Eric Moffett, Co-Chairman Richard Covill, Town Planner Laurie Whitten and Assistant Planner Nancy Rudek.  Chairman Moffett relayed the highlights of the meeting and opportunities that would be available if the EDC were to become members.  One of the items discussed was the EDDI (Economic Development Data & Information) files that the MHA has on their website for member towns. Town Planner Laurie Whitten distributed the town’s EDDI documents that were briefly prepared in 2004. She explained that these were referred to as the LOIS files back in 04 and that just the basic information was input. The data needs to be updated and completed. The EDDI file is what people/developers find when they search the site-finder. It is believed that this information is not available off the MHA website until membership is established. Jim Richards noted that the Chamber of Commerce is a member of the MHA—he will locate the EDDI file and print it for the next meeting.  Also distributed was the CERC demographic information that is available on their website: www.cerc.com.  Commission member Matt Crossen commented on the need to maintain a log of incoming calls from prospective business owners.  Chairman Moffett questioned the member’s availability and resources to follow through on calls from developers.  The MetroHartford would have the time and manpower to market the town for potential development.  It was further noted that most business owners and developers use the internet and go to MHA as a regional source.  One hit on their website may bring a business to town, which would more than compensate for the $2000.00 membership fee.  MHA is aware that this is only for a year and that the EDC would have to prove results in order to request this fee for their budget next fiscal year.  Town Planner Laurie Whitten also conveyed some of the potential assistance that was offered by MHA: assistance with website updates/links, help with inventorying properties,
education to public officials to expand their understanding of economic development, a $500 scholarship available on an annual basis for town officials and/or staff.  The MHA also talked about tax abatements, a subject that could be detailed by MHA staff.  Laurie Whitten noted Sandra Johnson’s statement that the town needs to have curb appeal and show hospitality.  Chairman Moffett emphasized that the success of this membership is up to the EDC to be proactive and periodically follow-up with the MHA.  The first year would require more time to address the many needs. Following that, the membership would relax into the mode of maintenance.  The MHA reported that 80% of economic growth in towns comes from expansions of existing businesses.  

It was concurred by the members that the $2000.00 would be well spent from a consulting standpoint.  The MetroHartford provides a variety of economic development services to its member towns.

MOTION:         To allocate funds for a one-year membership to the MetroHartford
                  Alliance.                                                        Covill/Richards-Unanimous

Ms. Whitten will find out the procedure to obtain a check from the Treasurer’s Office for the membership fee to The MetroHartford Alliance.  She also provided the MHA’s website address for the members: www.metrohartford.com


          Economic Development Issues

A discussion entailed regarding the current town’s budget status.  The budget referendum will be held on May 24, 2007.  It was determined that there is a need to educate the residents regarding the importance of infrastructure and other town needs to be able to bring in economic development, thus lowering the taxes.  It was decided that Mr. Covill would draft a basic letter on the EDC’s position regarding the budget. The suggestion was that the EDC go as a Commission to the Board of Selectmen with their approach for creative methods for revenue, to be followed through for the next fiscal budget.  

Richard Covill reported on the Chamber of Commerce’s ‘Business Person of the Year’ evening recently held.  The award was presented to Jim Thurz.  The event was well attended and enthusiastic.

III.    APPROVAL OF MINUTES

MOTION:  To approve the Regular Meeting Minutes of April 23, 2007.
Covill/Crossen-Unanimous                                                

IV.     ADJOURNMENT

MOTION:  To adjourn the meeting at 8:30 p.m.  -               Crossen/Richards-Unanimous



Respectfully submitted,


        Nancy J. Rudek,
Recording Secretary