LEWISTON — A new deal between the Twin Cities and the Lewiston-Auburn Economic Growth Council calls for long-term work mapping a new economic development strategy.

Lewiston city councilors voted in June to adopt a new service plan with the growth council, which is the Twin Cities’ economic development agency.

According to the new plan, each city will pay the growth council $160,610 for the coming fiscal year with the understanding that the council will come back in March 2015 with a new budget and in March 2016 with a strategic three-year plan, budget and new contract.

“I do believe we are at a point where there is agreement between Lewiston and Auburn and the Growth Council,” Lewiston City Administrator Ed Barrett said. “I think we have a system set up where there will be better communication, better tracking of progress. Some priorities have been established and I think we are ready to go forward.”

Auburn councilors approved the service plan at their next meeting.

The growth council is supposed to guide the Twin Cities in joint marketing and promotions to help bring new business to the area.

The Twin Cities have been working for more than a year to redefine the growth council’s job and decide how Lewiston-Auburn economic development will be handled in the future.

Representatives from the two city councils and the growth council met several times last summer, drawing up a new contract. Auburn councilors balked at the deal last fall, saying they disagreed with parts. They called for rewriting the two cities’ contract.

Both councils met in January, kicking off the most recent discussions that led to the new agreement.

Hiring a new president, a replacement for the longtime leader Lucien Gosselin, is the group’s current top priority, according to the plan. Gosselin officially ended his run as president last week after 16 years on the job.

“I think we’ve recognized that the growth council is going through a period of significant change with the retirement of Lucien Gosselin, the search for a new president and some other staff and the uncertainties of that process,” Barrett said.

The next step will be creating an economic development strategy that satisfies both cities. According to the plan, it shouldn’t be a regional or countywide strategy but should focus specifically on Lewiston-Auburn’s needs and finding ways to grow employment, income and investment in the Twin Cities.


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