The Town of Bristol does in fact need an economic development “go-to” person.
After exhausting all options, Councilor Ed Stuart told fellow council members during their meeting Wednesday night that indeed, “there is a need for one person.”
“I have to agree at the conclusion of last year, I feel that communication in this town, with so many projects going on, so many ideas and collaboration with everyone, we need to come up with an economic development director,” Councilor Stuart said.
Last August, Community Development Director Diane Williamson, along with Town Administrator Tony Teixeira, presented the council with an economic development plan that called for the hiring of a consultant. At the time, the town had a $21,000 budget surplus, and Ms. Williamson advocated that the money be spent on hiring a consultant to round-up all of Bristol’s economic development resources — the Bristol Merchants Association, Explore Bristol, Economic Development Commission, Mosaico – to determine the town’s future economic development needs. By working together, with all the players in one room, the town can put in place a strategic plan for economic development, Ms. Williamson had said.
The consultant would then recommend to the town a framework for an economic development director’s position, if one was needed.
However, Mr. Stuart’s stance was to refer economic development tasks to the towns’ Economic Development Commission, a volunteer committee comprised of residents and business owners, and overseen by Ms. Williamson.
“We need a go-to person for all the entities,” Mr. Stuart said. “This would be a perfect fit, on many levels, for the future of the town and its economic vitality.”
The other councilors agreed. As the town enters into its budget cycle, the council asked Mr. Teixeira to look into the possibility of creating an economic development director position, and at what capacity that position would be. The town previously had an economic development liaison, which was a part-time position.