AUBURN — Councilors on Monday said they wanted to pick and choose which parts of a proposed Twin Cities economic development contract they wanted to fund.

“It seems to me that we are the stewards of taxpayers’ money,” Councilor Joshua Shea said. “It’s about getting the best bang for our dollar, not about seeing what Lewiston wants to do, hoping they want to do the same things we do and then just agreeing with them.”

The proposed contract formally spells out what each city expects from the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council. It’s been drawn up by members of the Auburn Business Development Corp. and the Lewiston Development Committee over the past few months.

It identifies the responsibilities for the Growth Council. They include developing economic strategies, coordinating efforts between the two cities and other groups, promoting the area, attracting and retaining local business, managing a loan portfolio for local businesses and administration.

Under the proposed contract, both cities would agree to fund $189,388 for the Growth Council services, but those dollars would be specifically earmarked toward specific tasks. For example, each city would agree to pay $10,917 per year for developing strategy, $44,211 for downtown community development and $29,936 for attracting and developing new business.

During their Monday workshop, Auburn councilors said they were behind keeping a combined Lewiston-Auburn campaign for marketing regionally and nationally,  and most councilors agreed that business development belonged with the Growth Council.

But they were less enthusiastic about jobs such as developing economic strategy, coordinating Twin Cities’ economic development efforts to promote growth around Auburn’s transportation hubs.

“If we can do it equal or better than the Growth Council for an equal or better price — whether we do it internally or by sending it out — then we should,” Shea said. “That’s how we get the best bang.”

Councilors said they wanted to see more information about some responsibilities, such as coordinating the two cities’ efforts.

“I don’t believe it’s happening now, but that may be my own lack of understanding,” Councilor Tizz Crowley said. “I would like to see examples of this happening, but that is supposedly the strength of why we’ve done this all along and not competing. To me, of all of these, this should be the most obvious of all their successes.”

City Manager Clinton Deschene said he would continue working to answer councilors’ questions, and they would take the matter up again later this month.

[email protected]


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.