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updated: 8/13/2012 11:08 PM

Roselle to hire development consultant on trial basis

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Roselle officials on Monday directed village staff to hire a business development consultant on a five-month trial basis.

Trustees debated whether Michael Mallon, owner of Wheaton-based Mallon and Associates Inc., could help attract retailers to key areas of the Roselle.

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Mallon is the former director of planning for Lombard, and his company recently completed a 90-day, $30,000 study that outlines strategies for bringing business to the village.

Ultimately, all officials present agreed to hire Mallon, except trustee Kory Atkinson. Atkinson outlined multiple concerns with a presentation Mallon made before Roselle officials in July, including targeting areas for development that are outside incorporated Roselle.

Mallon's report targeted Main Street downtown, which is within the village, as well as Roselle and Nerge roads, Nerge and Plum Grove roads, Lake and Gary avenues, which have unincorporated portions.

Atkinson said he also disagreed with suggestions in Mallon's report to create more tax increment financing districts.

"I'm uncomfortable with government driving economic development," Atkinson said. "Should we give developers tax dollars to do, really, what they should be doing anyway?"

Trustee Terrence Wittman said he agreed with Atkinson but voted in favor of telling staff to negotiate a contract with Mallon that would hire him on a five month basis, which is the remaining length of Roselle's downtown TIF district. His work would also focus solely on the existing TIF district.

Village President Gayle Smolinski and trustees Andy Maglio, Barbara Rendall-Hochstadt and Wayne Domke said they believe the village should have a hand in driving economic development, and they believe Mallon has business contacts they don't possess.

"I think he has some opportunities that are bubbling and he's waiting to see what direction we're going to take," Smolinski said. "He's not going to bring them to a board that's not going to work with him. He's proven himself in other communities."

Roselle staff will now negotiate a contract and cost for hiring Mallon, and the village board of trustees will vote on the contract at a future meeting.

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