By Andreas Yilma, Staff Writer
NAUGATUCK — The borough will pay about 30% of the salary for the CEO of the newly formed Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp. next fiscal year.
The Board of Mayor and Burgesses on April 27 unanimously approved paying $45,000 of Naugatuck Valley Regional Development Corp. CEO Thomas Hyde’s $150,000 salary. Waterbury is paying the rest, according to officials.
Naugatuck and Waterbury launched the regional development agency last January with the intent that the quasi-public corporation will be responsible for large-scale economic development efforts with multi-town benefits and involvement.
“Having that unified voice in the Valley, the area can get a larger share of the funding that is available,” Hyde said. “That is the hope.”
Naugatuck and Waterbury are the only members right now. Officials are seeking to leverage about $5 million in funding to secure matching state money for projects. The matching state funds would only become available after the NVRDC has a minimum of five member municipalities, according to a proposed pilot program Valley officials pitched to the state this year.
Hyde said he has had conversations with officials in Naugatuck Valley municipalities about joining the NVRDC.
“There’s interest with a few municipalities,” Hyde said.
Mayor N. Warren “Pete” Hess said the amount the borough contributes for Hyde’s salary could be adjusted depending on how many other towns join the agency.
The NVRDC goes beyond what the Naugatuck Economic Development Corp. does for Naugatuck.
“NVRDC is a financial arm that differs from NEDC and enables us to attempt to actually get funding for our projects, not just advocate for them,” Hess said.
Waterbury Mayor Neil M. O’Leary said municipalities are used to fighting for everything for their own jurisdiction. The NVRDC takes a regional approach to economic development, instead of municipalities competing against one another.
“The way we look at it, what’s good for Waterbury is good for the Valley and what’s good for the Valley is good for Waterbury,” O’Leary said.
O’Leary said he believes the timing is right for regional development with improvements to the Waterbury branch of the Metro-North Railroad and local real estate prices rising.
“We think the Valley is ripe for growth right now,” O’Leary said.