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City is handling challenges, mayor says in State of the City

He might have been a little nervous, but Farmington mayor Todd Larson successfully pulled off his first State of the City address Thursday morning -- cough and all.

Just a day before his address, Larson came down with a dry cough. He opened his March 25 address by holding a water bottle in the air and offering up his apology for any coughing fits that might follow. Larson begged a little understanding of the group -- approximately 16 members of the Dakota County Regional Chambers of Commerce -- and admitted he did not memorize his script beforehand.

But somehow, despite his nervousness and occasional cough, Larson made it through his first State of the City, ad libbing a few times, making a few side comments and bringing out more than a couple of chuckles from his audience.

In his 24 minute speech -- and he was quick to point out how long it took afterward: "that's not too bad." -- Larson touched on much of the activity around Farmington in the previous year. He talked police department numbers, he rattled off statistics about solid waste processing. He brought up the two major engineering projects of 2008, Flagstaff Avenue and the Highway 3 roundabout, then segued into the new 195th Street bridge that is currently under construction and will be opened by next fall.

"It's way bigger than I ever thought it was going to be," he said in one of his side-note moments, "It's huge."

Going through some of the parks department projects, he noted that the Rambling River Center will be able to expand its programs once it moves to its new location in the former Farmington City Hall building. He also thanked Farmington resident Charlie Weber for coordinating the volunteer efforts associated with that project.

His address was not entirely about rosy things. He addressed the city's budget issues, those caused by the loss of state aid late in 2008 and more state aid in 2009.

"There were some challenges in 2008 and will be some more in 2009, but we will work though them as best we can," he said. Cutting $350,000 in the 2009 budget, he added, "has not been an easy process, but it is under control."

The address will be video taped by the city of Farmington and played on the city's cable channel. Those dates will be printed in the Farmington Independent when they become available.

You can also watch the address by clicking on the clips below.