By CHELSEY POLLOCK
Union Leader Correspondent
DERRY -- Fresh off the completion of a months-long economic development study, the town has extended its agreement with the Concord firm hired to boost business in Derry. The Arnett Group of Concord was first hired by the town in September 2009 on a six-month contract with the option to renew, said Derry Town Administrator John Anderson.
In April, the contract was extended to October 2010, Anderson said, and again extended in August to run until December 2010.
And this month, Anderson signed another agreement with the Arnett Group to keep them on board until at least June 30.
“The next six months are going to be very exciting, and I’m happy to be a part of that process,” said Stu Arnett of the Arnett Group Friday.
The Arnett Group has taken on some significant projects during its time in Derry, including the creation of a new farmers market and the completion of a three-month joint economic development study with the Moving Derry Forward Committee.
That committee, made up of business owners, town officials and community stakeholder, delivered its final report to the council last week.
And Anderson said he hopes Arnett and his team will now be able to the town put some of the committee’s recommendations into effect.
“The Moving Derry Forward report had some very significant suggestions and to change horses mid-stream doesn’t make a lot of sense to me,” Anderson said. “They worked on this project from the beginning, so why not work toward the implementation of those suggestions.”
A total of $75,000 was set aside to fund economic development efforts for fiscal year 2011, said Derry Chief Financial Officer Frank Childs.
About $27,000 remains in that line item, which will be used in combination with about $4,000 of Anderson’s discretionary money to fund the next six months of the Arnett Group contract, Childs said.
But Arnett said he hopes to spend the next six months helping Derry develop its own economic development resources.
“The hope is to almost put ourselves out of business with Derry in that we want to build up capacity locally so there would be a support system and strategies in place,” Arnett said. “Then our role will be for more specialized things.”
Anderson has been charged with coming up with a local economic development team by February, as part of his first-year goals set by the Town Council.