The future of economic growth in Cayuga County will be much discussed over the next few months as local development agencies attempt to reorganize in the wake of cuts to Auburn's Department of Planning and Economic Development.
At a Cayuga Economic Development Agency meeting this Thursday, board members plan to meet with the Cayuga County Industrial Development Agency's members to discuss the future roles for the three economic organizations and answer recent calls for consolidation by city and county officials.
"How we're going to better share responsibilities is definitely an issue to be discussed in the coming weeks," CEDA Director Terry Masterson said Monday. "Going forward, we're going to have to continue to share work on projects and to the best that we can to achieve the highest level of economic development possible."
On June 26, the Auburn City Council approved more than $2 million in cuts from the current fiscal year's budget, among them 38 percent from the city Planning and Economic Development Department, including dropping Economic Development Coordinator Tricia Ottley's position.
Four of the councilors, excluding Mayor Michael Quill who voted against the reductions, said a $5 million budget deficit and redundant services provided by the other two agencies in the county necessitated the cuts.
"The county's four blocks away, you've got CEDA two blocks away, that's three economic development agencies within four blocks of each other," Councilor William Graney said before the budget vote. "We've got to consolidate and all work together on this."
Director of Auburn Planning and Economic Development Jennifer Haines, in an attempt to save Ottley's position, described her work for the city as indispensable.
Haines said without Ottley, much of the city's outreach attempts at persuading new companies to relocate to Auburn would come to a standstill.
In addition, Ottley worked closely with the Auburn Industrial Development Authority to coordinate plans and policies with private businesses.
Haines declined to comment Monday on the potential of consolidation of development efforts in the area.
Masterson, noting that CEDA and the CCIDA frequently work in conjunction with city planners, hope to continue and strengthen those efforts in the future.
"We're more than willing to continue with any assistance that we can provide and will continue to work with Jenny Haines' department in the future," he said. "We've had a very cooperative partnership and will continue to work at that effective level."