Auburn, Businesses Collaborate On Economic Development

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Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson is reaching out to businesses.
Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson is reaching out to businesses. Photo Credit: Town of Auburn

AUBURN, Mass. —  Auburn has embarked upon a series of collaborative efforts to attract and retain businesses, with officials continuing to look for ways to open the doors of communication.

"It's a collaborative effort, and it's a strategic partnership between the public sector and private sector," said Auburn Town Manager Julie Jacobson.

"The town administration, the selectboard, the finance board and town meeting have all worked hard to continue the town's financial strength, and I think that's important in this economy," she added

One effort is through Auburn's Economic Development Committee, a seven-member panel that makes recommendations to the town manager on strategies for stimulating economic growth.

Additionally, Jacobson said, the town has created a business roundtable made up of CEO's from Auburn businesses "ranging from small companies to major corporations."

This panel, which includes businesses such as Polar Beverages, Chuck's Steakhouse and Fuller Automotive, gives the town valuable input on what barriers companies face in Auburn and how the town can address them, said Jacobson.

"There's only so much the public sector can do, but we can create an environment that makes it easy for corporations and small businesses to be successful," she added.

The town also works closely with the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, with its president contributing to the town's business round table discussions.

"We benefit them, hopefully by bringing in new businesses that join the Chamber, and they're an enormous asset for us in attracting new business," Jacobson said.

"It's definitely a collaborative effort, but it's not just about attracting new business, but retaining existing business," said Jacobson. "If we were to lose one major employer that employed 300 people, it would take quite a bit to make up for that job loss. So it's really critical for us to focus on our existing businesses and make sure they understand we're here to help them wherever we can, and want to help them facilitate their projects."

To help businesses, Jacobson said that, in the past four years, the Board of Selectmen has voted to lower the differential on the tax-rate, closing the gap between residential and commercial taxes to be more conducive to economic development.

"The selectmen have to recognize and balance the needs of the residents with the needs of businesses, but the better we can grow the pie, the more relief there will be to the residential taxpayer."

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