OSCODA – “I’m very excited about the qualified individuals that we have applying for the job,” said Oscoda Township Superintendent Dave Schaeffer, in reference to the Economic Improvement Director  (EID) hopefuls.

As of the board of trustees meeting on Sept. 23, he said eight applications had been submitted by those interested in overseeing the Economic Improvement Committee (EIC).

EIC members have established interviews for the candidates this Saturday, Oct. 5, beginning at 10 a.m. in the Robert J. Parks Library.

Schaeffer explained that some of the applicants hail from such areas as Illinois, Texas and Ohio. Therefore, he requested that the board authorize the travel expenditures associated with the standard IRS mileage rates, as well as the travel policy of the township of a $40 per day per diem.

“And so, right now I can’t exactly tell you what that’s going to be. The [EIC] is ranking those applicants and, instead of just the top five or the top six, I’m asking for the top seven,” he told trustees. This way, if somebody can’t make the interview or has found another position, there are back-ups in place.

The motion to approve travel expenses for the interviewees passed in a 5-1 vote of the board. Clerk John Nordeen was opposed, while Trustee Timothy Cummings was not in attendance.

As recently reported, officials approved the specifics regarding the EID position, including a three-year contract, on a pay scale of $85,000 to $125,000 a year, depending on qualifications.

Not in favor of this were Nordeen and Trustee Jim Baier, who felt the salary range was too high.

Schaeffer said the EID will be an independent contractor position aligned to implement Resolution 2019-20 and the creation of the EIC.

He has explained that Resolution 2019-20 was largely based on the board’s approval of the PlaceLeap proposal to create the township’s Economic Development Strategy, Downtown Redevelopment Strategy, Community Branding and Marketing Strategy, and the Communications Strategy.

As these strategies are being developed, trustees need to consider approving the EID position to help the EIC drive positive economic improvements for the community through the implementation of these strategies, he noted at the time.

“Right now, the township needs to be able to invest resources into current retention of our industrial park; our industrial partners,” he added. “And, right now, we do not have anyone tasked with that role, as far as retention, expansion of current business, as well as the attraction of new business to that industrial site.”

According to the EIC, the EID will be expected to complete a number of tasks. As noted in the position summary, this person will direct the township’s EIC, and keep the board and township administration apprised of all economic improvement activities.

In addition to implementation of the various plans listed by Schaeffer, duties will also include qualifying and retaining Redevelopment Ready Communities Certification through the Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

Further, the EID will oversee all Brownfield Redevelopment Authority activities, and encourage investment in the township’s Opportunity Zone.

Oscoda’s Downtown Development Authority (DDA) was previously responsible for about a two-square-mile area of the township. The DDA was dissolved earlier this year and replaced with the EIC, which can focus its attention on the entire township.

It was during a meeting in June when trustees appointed Martin Gayeski, Rhonda Cope, David Iler, Rose Mary Nentwig and Mark Wygant to the EIC – all of whom were prior DDA members.