One of the goals of the city council’s decision to assume authority over Bradenton’s three community redevelopment agencies was to then create an economic development department to work with the CRAs with a citywide mission.
The council took that control in January, but little progress has been made in defining what the director would do or even creating a unified department. That changed in August after a clash between elected officials and staff to get the process moving.
The subject re-emerged during the city’s budget process in which officials didn’t understand why funds were being budgeted to finally create the department, but no funds were budgeted to a hire a director. Those discussions were worked out, and the city is ready to move forward to find someone who understands both economic development and the missions of the CRAs.
We are strong everywhere on the CRA side, but where we haven’t been strong is the economic development side.
City administrator Carl Callahan
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City administrator Carl Callahan said a job description was prepared to be released at the consensus of the city council, which was enthusiastically provided on Wednesday.
“The job description is similar to what it was before but incorporates some CRA responsibilities,” Callahan said, who noted that more resources would be used this time to advertise the position.
Ward 4 Councilman Bemis Smith said the CCRA and Bradenton Downtown Development Authority advisory boards have shown proven strength in recent months to stay active.
“So it would be nice to have someone who is focused on economic development, as well as the CRA side versus some folks we’ve had before that were strong on the CRA side, but not economic development.”
Callahan said between the advisory boards, the city council as the CRA board and city staff, “We are strong everywhere on the CRA side, but where we haven’t been strong is the economic development side.”
Council members unanimously said they want to review every application that is submitted for the new job, given its importance. Callahan didn’t provide a timetable to release the advertisement but said “it’s ready to go.”