The Dover Economic Development Office will meet with major employers twice a year instead of once and will add weekly meetings with small and medium businesses and monthly meetings with commercial realtors in an effort to ramp up its effectiveness.
Mayor Carleton Carey Sr. briefed Dover City Council’s Legislative, Finance & Administration Committee on the changes during its meeting Monday night as part of the effort for increased accountability of the office to Dover City Council.
City Manager Scott Koenig had recommended eliminating the Economic Development Office last spring as a way to help close the budget deficit that had been projected for the 2013 fiscal year. But Dover City Council reinstated that office during June 4 budget deliberations to save an office that a majority on council deemed too crucial to Dover's future economic growth to eliminate. The motion also included placing the Economic Development Office under the purview of the mayor.
In addition to the added meetings, the office will continue to meet once a month with the Kent Economic Partnership, the Delaware Economic Development Office, the Delaware Department of Transportation and the Delaware Department of Natural Resources & Environmental Control, Carey said.
Carey also outlined the specific details of the three employees of the office that the city budgeted $250,000 for the 2013 fiscal year. The city also budgeted $180,000 for the Downtown Dover Partnership that they work for as well, but that money would cease to come for the 2014 fiscal year.
Executive Director Bill Neaton, manages the office’s staff, works with DEDO and Kent Economic Partnership on business development, oversees the Garrison Tract leases and construction projects, maintains relationships with local colleges and major employers and serves as a member of the Central Delaware Business & Entrepreneurship Consortium and the Delaware Sports Commission, among other things.
Project Coordinator Ed Perez evaluates business plans, assists businesses with applications for financing, provides assistance in identifying locations for businesses and serves as a member of the Central Delaware Business & Entrepreneurship Consortium and Kent County Economic Summit Planning Committee, among other things, Carey said.
Administrative Assistant Beverly Jackson’s duties include maintaining the calendar of the Downtown Dover Partnership Board and transcribing monthly minutes, writing monthly E-News promoting downtown events and preparing departmental reports for City Council and DEDO, Carey said.
Neaton said council’s demands for more detailed information about what the office did were only fair.
“Now, it’s in writing so that people can see what we do on a daily basis,” he said.