AUBURN | The Auburn Industrial Development Agency is considering transferring its business development work into the hands of the private nonprofit Cayuga Economic Development Agency.

In a meeting held Wednesday at Auburn's City Hall, the AIDA board met with CEDA interim director Andrew Fish to discuss the state of a proposed administrative staffing services agreement that would allow CEDA to conduct the work involved with bringing new businesses into the city of Auburn on behalf of AIDA. The proposed contract, which is still being solidified by attorneys of both agencies, would hand over to CEDA all work involved with marketing and attracting business into the city limits but would still allow AIDA to retain any revenue collected as a result of fees paid by the new businesses for financial assistance.

Board members from AIDA discussed with Fish at Wednesday's meeting several aspects of the proposal that would need to be smoothed out before anything can be agreed upon. Amanda Grover, a member of the AIDA board, asked how CEDA would reconcile what she felt were conflicting mission statements of the two agencies, with CEDA representing county-wide development and AIDA focusing solely on the city of Auburn. Fish said he didn't feel that it would be an issue.

"Our job is to bring business to the county and that includes the city of Auburn," he said.

AIDA board member Matt Smith voiced his concern that if this contract is agreed upon, it could leave no room for the Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency to operate within the city, which it currently can do. But Fish said there are a few possible solutions to that problem, such as creating boundaries between the groups or possibly merging assets, which could be discussed in the future, if necessary.

Smith also said that if the deal is agreed upon, he hopes to see a strong effort from CEDA to attract new businesses, rather than focusing solely on retaining the ones already here.

"The city's never really had an aggressive marketing strategy," Smith said. "I hope we'll see one if we go forward with this."

The AIDA board elected not to go into executive session to further discuss the contract negotiations with CEDA and will instead set a date at a later time for another meeting with Fish and other agency officials.

Both Fish and the AIDA board are optimistic that an agreement can be worked out that will benefit both parties.

"No one will go into this relationship getting less out of it," Fish said. "From here on out, everyone will get more."

Staff writer Kelsey Durham can be reached at 282-2237 or Follow her on Twitter @CitizenDurham.

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