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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 3K: MOBD awarding of contracts for regional business development services; eligible organizations; requirements

Section 3K. (a)(1) The Massachusetts office of business development shall award up to 12 contracts for regional business development services. Each contract shall specify the municipalities which comprise the region to be served under that contract.

(2) Eligible organizations shall be corporations, foundations, organizations or institutions that are exempt from federal taxation under section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code. Eligible organizations shall have a primary focus on economic development. Governmental regional entities which serve as regional or district planning commissions under chapter 40B, regional employment boards, tourism councils under section 14 of chapter 23A or entities which are a political subdivision of a municipality or wholly owned by a municipality shall not be eligible.

(3) In order to be eligible to be a regional business development service, an applicant shall demonstrate the following:

(i) The applicant operates regionally and its service area or membership includes more than 10 contiguous cities or towns. The organization shall describe the economic interdependency of its contiguous member municipalities and articulate a comprehensive vision for recognition of those municipalities as a self identified region with interrelated economic assets such as industrial base, public infrastructure, research, educational and financial institutions and environmental characteristics.

(ii) The governance structure and leadership of the applicant organization complies with the standards established by the Massachusetts office of business development.

(iii) The applicant is engaged primarily in activities intended to promote job and business retention, creation and attraction across all industry sectors within its identified region.

(iv) The applicant has a history of collaboration with the area business community, local officials, economic development organizations, higher education institutions and other public and private organizations within the identified region. The applicant must describe a plan for a formal program encouraging participation in activities by a wide variety of organizations, governments and businesses operating in the identified region.

(v) The applicant has received or has commitments to receive substantial financial and in kind support from private sources or member municipalities.

(vi) The applicant is capable of and agrees to provide services to the entire region identified in the application.

(b) The Massachusetts office of business development shall give preference in awarding contracts to organizations that have prior experience furnishing advice and assistance to businesses within or seeking to locate to the identified region, a working knowledge of the region, the region's industrial base, the region's demographics and the region's strengths and weaknesses and prior experience and involvement with regional governmental entities including, but not limited to, regional competitiveness councils, regional planning agencies and regional employment boards.

(c) Contracts for services entered into under this section shall include, but not be limited to, the following required services to be performed by the organization on behalf of the commonwealth:

(i) act as the primary contact for businesses seeking assistance from state or local governments, including those seeking to locate within the region or expand existing operations;

(ii) identify public funding sources for business activity and provide assistance in accessing public tax incentive programs;

(iii) identify potential sites for business development and maintain an inventory of key development parcels;

(iv) market the identified region in coordination with the Massachusetts marketing partnership established under section 13A and in compliance with the marketing materials developed by the partnership;

(v) furnish advice and assistance to businesses and industrial prospects which may locate in the region, existing businesses and industries and persons seeking to establish new businesses or industries and engage in related activities;

(vi) establish and maintain a network of public and private expertise related to regional assets, industry clusters, workforce and education opportunities and public tax and regulatory incentive and capital access programs;

(vii) partner with the Massachusetts office of business development representative to the region and representatives of quasi-public agencies and authorities engaged in economic development activities to exchange information and jointly provide direct consultation with businesses seeking to expand or locate to the region;

(viii) act as the primary contact for the region for a business seeking state assistance and incentives in a location decision;

(ix) in partnership with the staff of the Massachusetts office of business development, assist member municipalities with economic development efforts related to business attraction and retention and with access to state economic development programs; and

(x) submit an annual report to the Massachusetts office of business development on the business development activities conducted under the contract. The report shall include: a summary of the preceding year's program activities, objectives and accomplishments; a description of how the programs and marketing strategy conducted under the contract align with the commonwealth's overall economic development and strategies; an analysis of how the contracting organization's involvement in promotion activities has generated prospective business expansion and relocation clients; and a summary of its efforts to obtain funds from local, private and federal sources.

(d) Contracts entered into under this section shall be for a term not longer than 3 years and may provide for the renewal of the contract at the discretion of the Massachusetts office of business development; provided, however, that the renewal shall be for a term not longer than 2 years. Nothing in this subsection shall preclude a regional organization from re-applying to provide services under a new contract.

(e) The Massachusetts office of business development may cancel any contract under this section upon a showing that the regional economic development organization has failed to provide the necessary regional services listed in subsection (c).

(f) The Massachusetts office of business development shall develop a formula to determine funding for contractual reimbursements. That formula shall reflect demographic and economic indicators, including, but not limited to, population and the number of business establishments operating in the region, as well as an assessment of regional needs and the priorities of the statewide economic development plan created under section 16G of chapter 6A. The formula shall also reflect the significant need for increased economic activity in regions which include target areas, as defined in section 2 of chapter 40H. Renewal contracts shall also provide incentives to reward reporting in compliance with performance measurements and to reward achievement of specific performance goals.

(g) Organizations entering into contracts with the commonwealth under this section may enter into additional contracts with the commonwealth to provide additional regional services which do not constitute business assistance activities.

(h) If MOBD determines through the request for proposals process that no organization meets the requirements in this section or a region is not served by any eligible regional economic development organization, then MOBD may either rebid the contract or serve as the primary coordinator for business development initiatives in that region and rebid the contract at its discretion.