Regional Chamber seeks additional money News, Sports, Jobs

WARREN — Trumbull County commissioners are expected to vote Wednesday on a contract with the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber that includes more economic development services for the county — but at an increased price.

The last contract, which was valid from Aug. 7, 2021, to Aug. 6 of this year, valued the cost of services performed by the chamber at $80,000, and Trumbull County paid $23,000 of that.

The contract to be voted on, which would be valid from Sept. 8, 2022, to Sept. 7, 2023, if approved, values ​​the cost of services to be performed at $125,000 and the county would pay $45,000 of that.

Shea MacMillen, chamber vice president of economic development, said the increased cost is because the chamber will provide additional services and the price of services had not been updated since 1999.

The chamber and the county first came to an agreement in 1999 and have been in partnership since. The chamber primarily works with the Trumbull County Planning Commission. MacMillen and other members of the chamber presented the new agreement to the commissioners last week, although Commissioner Niki Frenchko did not attend.

During that presentation, Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa said despite the higher price tag, he thinks this agreement is still a good deal for the county because it would be much more costly to hire additional county staff to complete the same tasks. Commissioner Frank Fuda agreed and said the chamber and the county have been able to do a lot of good work with each other throughout the years.

MOST RECENT

In both agreements, the objectives are to continue an aggressive business retention and expansion program and to achieve greater impact in the economic development arena while enhancing the coordination of countywide development efforts. To do this, in the most recent contract, the chamber had agreed to the following:

• Conduct at least 175 one-on-one business retention and expansion visits with targeted firms in the county and follow up as needed to address problems and growth opportunities;

• Attend meetings to update the commissioners as needed;

• Share project-related information obtained during business retention and expansion visits with the Trumbull County Planning Commission staff;

• Prepare marketing and informational materials that illustrate the benefits of doing business in Trumbull County; and

• Serve as a county development entity to provide economic development information and assistance on behalf of the county, which includes promoting the area to nonlocal business attraction prospects.

NEW PROPOSAL

To complete the same objectives, the chamber would do the following if the new contract is approved:

• Conduct at least 175 one-on-one business retention and expansion visits with firms in unincorporated areas of the county and follow up as needed to address problems and growth opportunities;

• Attend meetings to update the commissioners as needed;

• Share project-related information obtained during business retention and expansion visits with the Trumbull County Planning Commission staff;

• Serve as a county development entity to provide economic development information and assistance on behalf of the county, which includes promoting the area to nonlocal businesses;

• Answer requests for information from site selectors, JobsOhio, TeamNEO, corporate developers and others seeking to locate an economic development project in the county. These typically will be answered within two to three days and include more than 100 data points;

• Represent the county during weekly project reviews with TeamNEO and JobsOhio;

• Represent the county on the TeamNEO Board of Directors, Rite Sites Council and Business Development Council, as well as other economic development bodies; and

• Manage economic development projects.

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