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The Clarence Industrial Development Agency will put off hiring an economic development officer as it tries to drum up more job candidates.

"I don't think we have the person that we want yet," said David C. Hartzell Jr., the Clarence IDA's chairman, at Thursday's meeting.

The agency has planned to hire an economic development officer - as an independent contractor on a part-time basis - to help attract and retain businesses.

Hartzell said he had received about a half dozen applications for the position after advertising it for a few weeks. He recommended advertising for applicants again, probably in early 2013.

In other business Thursday:

.The Clarence IDA board approved a 2013 budget with anticipated expenses of $101,900, down 13 percent from $116,900 for the current year.

The 2012 budget included $17,000 for "community relations"; no such funds were budgeted for that purpose for 2013. In past years, the funds were given to organizations for economic development purposes, but the agency is rethinking its approach after it was criticized by the state Authorities Budget Office last year over a grant it made to the Clarence Chamber of Commerce.

The 2013 spending plan budgets $12,000 toward paying an economic development officer. It also anticipates receiving $99,500 in revenue from administrative fees, down from $99,900 budgeted in the current spending plan.

Through Sept. 20, the agency had received about $28,000 in fees this year. But Paul Leone, a Clarence IDA consultant, said a number of potential business projects are on the horizon for 2013.

"I can tell you this, next year is looking pretty good," he said.

. Hartzell put aside the idea of the Clarence IDA opening up a business incubator, in light of real estate investment trust DDR Corp. rolling out an incubator program of its own.

DDR is offering six months of free rent at selected sites, including some in Buffalo Niagara, to deal with excess vacancies. Hartzell had raised the incubator idea in August.

"It's a good idea, but we're not going to go head-to-head with (DDR)," Hartzell said of the Clarence incubator concept. "We'll put this on the back burner and in six months talk about it again."

Mary Powell, an IDA board member, said she did not think an incubator was a good idea for the agency to pursue.





mglynn@buffnews.com