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Peek into the Farmington City Council's past

Click on a link on the city of Farmington's website, and you can immediately get a snapshot of what was happening in the community in any given month in the past 38 years.

All of the city of Farmington's past council agendas, from as early as a month ago to as far back as 1996, are stored electronically on Laserfiche and available at any time on the city's website. Minutes from city council meetings, dating back as far as 1974, are available there, as well.

A link to the old documents is found on the Government link on website, In the Government section is another link to Council Agendas and Meeting Minutes. The most recent city council agendas, agenda packets and meeting minutes are there, but on the upper right hand corner is a link to the past council agendas and minutes stored in Laserfiche.

Executive assistant Cindy Muller started scanning the old agendas and minutes a couple of years ago, before city staff moved from the old city hall on Oak Street to its present location on Third and Spruce streets. When staff was still at the Oak Street site, the past records were stored in three-ring binders that were stored in bookcases that lined the walls.

The city council agenda packets date back to 1996 because that was how many years full packets had been kept, Muller said. Minutes date back to 1974, because those were kept much longer.

It was a time consuming project. Muller scanned documents when she had a few extra minutes here and there, and other city staff helped out. Once city staff were sure the full documents were saved and in the Laserfiche system, the original documents were recycled.

The intent of putting the city records online was simple, communications specialist Danielle Cahlander said.

"It was to make things more accessible so residents don't have to come in and request things," she said. "It's to be more transparent with our records."

The records have been available for about a year, Cahlander said. While there is no way to track whether many residents have accessed the documents online, she's pretty sure some do because the city received complaints when the system was temporarily down a couple of weeks ago.

Michelle Leonard

Michelle Leonard joined the Woodbury Bulletin staff in November, 2014, after 14 years covering news for the Bulletin's sister publication, the Farmington Rosemount Independent Town Pages.  Michelle earned her Bachelor of Science degree in Mass Communications: News-Editorial from Mankato State University in 1991. She is an active member of the American Legion Auxiliary Clifford Larson Unit 189 of Farmington, and served as the 2014-15 Third District President to the American Legion Auxiliary Department of Minnesota. Michelle is also the volunteer coordinator for the Minnesota Newspaper Museum which is open annually during the Minnesota State Fair. She has earned Minnesota Newspaper Association awards in Investigative Reporting, Local News Coverage, Feature Photography and Column Writing. 

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