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Development nonprofit set to help Bedford Township draw business


Greg Stewart, the Bedford Township supervisor, attends a meeting in Temperance, Mich. The Bedford Township Board of Trustees is poised to hire the Monroe County Business Development Corp. to help with the township’s efforts to attract employers.

The Blade/Lori King
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TEMPERANCE — The Bedford Township Board of Trustees is poised to hire the Monroe County Business Development Corp. to help with the township’s efforts to attract employers.

After last week’s presentation to the board from Tim Lake, who is the nonprofit agency’s president, Supervisor Greg Stewart said he would meet with Mr. Lake to work out a contract with him for the board to vote on.

The township has its own economic development corporation. that meets monthly, but it lacks the personnel and time to deliver a professional service, Trustee Nancy Tienvieri said. She is the board’s representative on the development agency, which was set up as the township’s issuer of industrial-development bonds.

Mr. Lake told the board that a planned new international bridge between Detroit and Windsor, Ont., will be “a game changer” that presents opportunities for Monroe County.

“Wayne County shouldn’t get everything,” he said.

The new crossing to Canada could lead to 60,000 new jobs, he said, and competition for them will be stiff. He said other states are trying to poach Michigan companies for themselves, and significant employers generally look for areas with populations of at least 1 million. Monroe County could achieve this by partnering with its regional counties in Michigan and the Regional Growth Partnership in Toledo to “enlarge its footprint.”

Mr. Lake then asked the board for a service agreement that would make his agency, the Monroe County Business Development Corp., the economic development arm of Bedford Township.

“We’d love for Bedford to come along with us for the ride. We think there are a whole lot of opportunities down here,” he told the board.

So far this year, he said, BDC-assisted projects had resulted in capital investments in the county of more than $23 million; these same projects had created 132 jobs and preserved 70. Last year’s numbers were about $123 million in capital investments, 108 jobs created, and 801 jobs saved.

In other business, the board approved a recommendation from the township fire commission to advertise for a chief to replace John Bofia, who retired April 1. Assistant Fire Chief Jim Neorr has been interim chief.

The job description in the ad includes a salary range of $65,000 to $70,000 plus benefits.

Ms. Tienvieri asked why the advertised salary was more than the $63,000 that was budgeted.

Mr. Stewart said that research indicated this was the appropriate compensation for the job. Treasurer Paul Francis, the board’s liaison to the Fire Commission, agreed, saying that the budget was adopted before the job description was developed, and the township has to be competitive.

In a memorandum to the board, Mr. Francis wrote that the average salary in the region for chiefs in comparable communities and departments was $78,220.

The board voted 7-0 to approve the ad and set deadlines of Oct. 31 for applications and Jan. 1 for hiring the successful candidate.

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