Mayor says much was accomplished last year in Farmington
Touching on the "proud past" of 2009, Farmington mayor Todd Larson delivered his state of the city address Thursday morning.
Held at the Farmington Eagles Club before a group of 18 Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce members, the mayor's speech recounted many of the positive things to happen last year.
The speech ran about 20 minutes. In that time, Larson touched on activity in every department in the city of Farmington.
In the area of public safety, he noted that the Farmington police department now has 24 officers and four support staff. In 2009, the city council approved the community's first police dog, Boscoe, who is now in training with his partner, officer Travis Sundvall.
Farmington police drove about 250,000 miles to patrol the community last year, and answered about 20,000 calls for service.
The fire department hired one new volunteer firefighter in 2009, but 11 members retired. Still, the Farmington Fire Department was able to respond to a total of 670 calls, covering an area of about 88 square miles, with an average response time of seven minutes.
One of the things that helps response times is the new bridge that spans the railroad tracks. The 195th Street extension project was completed in 2009, creating a new east-west route through the center of the community. A significant trunk utility project was also completed in 2009, extending the trunk sanitary sewer from Elm Street south to Walnut Street.
A total of 13 new businesses came to Farmington last year. The city gives each business a ribbon cutting ceremony. Last year, city staff participated in 15 ribbon cuttings to commemorate new business openings, anniversaries and other events.
Last year was also the first year for a new Farmer's Market in downtown Farmington. It opened July 9, with a line of people waiting outside the gates on the first day. A popular event throughout last season, the market will be back again this summer, Larson said. The first market of the year is planned for June 24.
Larson highlighted several components of the public works division. In 2009, the city of Farmington completed a replacement and upgrade of all water meters in the community. Now, it takes public works staff three days to read all the water meters in the city -- that's down from nine days in the past.
Replacements and upgrades also happened at both the Schmitz-Maki Ice Arena and the Farmington outdoor pool. Larson acknowledged that the ice arena woes are far from cleared up -- that's part of an ongoing project the city council is addressing these days -- but leaks found in 2009 were fixed in time for the school hockey season.
New drain covers installed at the outdoor pool helped the city to comply to the new Abigail Taylor Law and the federal Virginia Graham Baker Law. Both laws required pool operators to complete safety improvements that prevented people from becoming entrapped in the drains of the pools.
Larson will give his state of the city speech before a camera at city hall in two weeks. The video of that address will be posted on the city's web site, www.ci.farmington.mn.us, and will also be available to view on the city's cable channel. Farmington city administrator Peter Herlofsky expects the state of the city address to be available for residents to see by mid-April.