By RANDY PIERCE
Technical assistance concerning projects related to affordable housing along with community and economic development will come to Madison County from an agency called the National Development Council as a result of an agreement approved by the two recently.
At a cost to the county of $30,000, the contract covers a period through the end of this November and will be administered at the local level by Christopher Otto, director of the department with this responsibility.
The approval of the agreement with the NDC, as recommended by both the county board’s grants and finance and government operations committees, states the agency’s expertise in economic and community development activities and housing will be used to provide support services to the county.
The NDC, a New York City-based non-profit corporation, performs such services throughout the United States including, as mentioned in the agreement, evaluating and structuring proposals related to development in the county, the applicable components consisting of such things as financial aspects of the projects considered and negotiations in this regard.
The NDC is also to provide on-site training to county staff members on the analysis and development of projects “in a manner that maximizes” the advantages to be realized at the local level into any deal being made.
Another part of the agreement specifies that the NDC’s involvement in economic growth-related or other similar projects will result in “assuring that the county gets the most return for its investment in various kinds of development activities.”
In that, as stated in the agreement, the NDC “has a national reputation for evaluating and structuring real estate development projects throughout the country,” its expertise is expected to assist Madison County in “gaining the confidence and competence to effectively interact with the private sector to increase the leverage available on publicly-assisted projects.”
The agreement concerns both commercial and residential housing development projects for which the county wishes to see forward movement.
Founded in 1969, the NDC’s efforts that are designed to provide benefit to the county are intended to help with the development and preservation of affordable housing, boost the creation of jobs, advance the existence and growth of livable communities through social infrastructure investment and build the service and efficiency capacity of local government units with its hands-on technical assistance.
The NDC website includes as part of its stated mission the concept of increasing the flow of capital investment into low-income communities through its partnerships with entities like Madison County.
The approval of the agreement came forth at the same county board meeting where Otto’s appointment to his position was approved unanimously after being deferred from the previous month. As director of the Madison County Community Development Department, Otto is receiving $101,000 in annual salary.