LAEC takes on Longmont’s small-business programs

LONGMONT – The Longmont city council voted 6-1 Tuesday night for the Longmont Area Economic Council to run the city’s economic development programs for small businesses including retail shops.

The LAEC is a nonprofit organization that works to recruit and retain primary employers in the Longmont area. Primary employers’ products and services are sold outside the area, bringing cash into the local economy. The organization’s annual budget is made up of business membership fees and funding from the city.

The LAEC received about $200,000 from the city for 2014, which makes up less than half of the organization’s annual budget, according to Andy Bade, chairman of the LAEC’s board of directors and executive director of business services at Amgen Colorado in Longmont.

The city will add another $132,500 to LAEC’s budget for the remainder of the year, which will be used to hire a small-business expert and cover costs associated with running the city’s small-business programs. The city will provide the LAEC approximately $362,500 in 2015.

The LAEC will now move forward to hire a president to replace John Cody, who left the organization in August to be director of economic development for the city of Thornton. A search committee had narrowed the candidate field for his replacement to three before consolidation negotiations began with the city and the hiring process put on hold in December.

Bade said the president search was put on hold to see if the organization needed to hire someone with a skill set to manage an operation that covers both large primary employers and smaller businesses including retailers.

The LAEC hired Chicago-based recruitment firm The PACE Group two weeks ago to find a candidate, Bade said, adding that the next step for the LAEC is to work with the city on the details of transferring programs.

Requests to the city Wednesday morning seeking information on how it would restructure its economic development department and how much money the move would save the city were not immediately returned.

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