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Editorial: Development will be a big job

The city of Farmington is in a difficult spot when it comes to its budget. It finds itself with a $370,000 hole to fill next year, and not a lot of easy ways to fill it.

The city took one step toward making needed cuts this week when it eliminated the position of economic development specialist. It's a move some council members had suggested in the past, but it puts the city in a difficult position.

At a time when economic growth is vital to any city, the city of Farmington cut the position most directly responsible for attracting business and keeping it here and healthy once it has arrived.

It's difficult for any city to attract new business these days, and having someone dedicated to that role can be an advantage. It could also be considered a liability, however, at a time when business might not come no matter who is there to help direct the process.

The city of Farmington has promised it will not abandon efforts to attract new business. Economic development roles have been spread among four other city employees, although it's not clear yet exactly how the new arrangement will work. Clyde Rath, president of the Farmington Business Association, said city administrator David McKnight has promised the city will continue to support its business community.

That is important. Keeping existing businesses in town and in business is as important as bringing in something new.

Some of those efforts are already in the work. Elsewhere in this newspaper there is a story about the formation of a business recruitment group to reach out to the community. It is one part of a larger economic development master plan the city is putting into place.

It's certainly possible the city will be able to effectively draw businesses with a reduced staff. For everyone's sake, we hope that's the case.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

(651) 460-6606