Councilors discussed the possibility of adding “seed” money to the marketing budget during a recent budget review meeting.
Councilors discussed the marketing spending plan and seed money to help with various projects during a budget meeting on April 25.
Derry’s proposed Fiscal Year 2018 budget stands at about $47 million, representing about a five percent increase over last year, according to officials.
Along with various other departments, the spending plan also funds the economic development office, with a new a full-time coordinator and a continuing contract with Buxton Retail Recruitment Services and other expenses, Caron said.
The Council members voted at their March 7 meeting to appoint Anne Struthers to the positon of economic development coordinator.
She began work in late March and receives an annual salary of $83,679.
In addition to hiring an economic development coordinator, councilors late last year agreed to hire Buxton Marketing to help recruit retailers to Derry.
To help offset the Derry tax rate, which is one of the highest in the state, councilors have been exploring ways to generate tax revenue and help develop the local economy.
The agreement calls for the town to pay $50,000 for the first year, with the option to hire Buxton for the remaining two-years of the contract. The agreement also offers the possibility of engaging Buxton to develop a hotel feasibility study at a one-time cost of $10,000. All 2017costs will be funded by from the FY 2017 economic development budget, according to officials.
In the meeting, Town Administrator David Caron said at the outset of discussion that the consensus was to not add any more funds to the overall appropriation that will fund the marketing and community development budgets.
“Being a new program this year we feel comfortable with the overall appropriation with that department, recognizing we may have to transfer money from line item to line item to meet our priority needs,” Caron said. “So it will be a testing process throughout the year but we are comfortable with the overall appropriation.”
All of the councilors seemed in agreement except for Councilor Neil Wetherbee. Wetherbee said he would be more comfortable, if it could be found, to put some “seed money” in the budget that could be added this year that could be needed for various projects that could arise in future years, he said.
He added, “If you put $10,000 in this year and you need $30,000 in it next year, it’s just that much less that’s already been established that you have to come up with.”
Councilor Joshua Bourdon said he thought that if they could find money that could be available this year they should hold on to it and wait to use it next year.
Councilor Jim Morgan said he thought instead of adding an appropriation at once, the council could use supplemental appropriations on an as-needed basis.
“I kind of like the idea of not having the money in because I would rather have the project brought before us as an individual line item to be voted on, rather than just have money in a taxpayer account that somebody can spend at their will,” Morgan said.
The potential marketing projects that could involve websites and marketing materials that are going to be project based at a cost of about $2,000 each.
“So it’s going to probably be 15 $2,000 projects, not one big $30,000 project,” he said.