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City of Farmington will change EDA makeup

The Farmington Economic Development Authority will take on new members next year, and they will not necessarily be elected officials.

On Monday, the Farmington City Council voted 3-2 to change the composition of the EDA from five council members and two ex-officio members to a board consisting of two council members and three appointed members from the community.

Currently, Geri Jolley and Doug Bonar sit as the two ex-officio EDA members. They will continue in their appointed terms, and a third Farmington resident will be sought for the third open seat. The two council members to sit on the board will not be selected until January, following this fall's elections.

Terms for the council members appointed to the new EDA will run concurrent with their elected terms. The terms for the appointed members will be six years, and members will receive a $10 stipend per meeting.

Under the new organizational structure, the economic development authority will no longer have taxing authority. The board will make budget recommendations to the city council, with all final taxing decisions being made by elected officials.

Council members Christy Jo Fogarty and Jason Bartholomay favored a seven-member configuration, with two of the seats held by council members and the other five appointed. At a recent League of Minnesota Cities conference, Fogarty sat in on several workshops related to economic development authority groups. Popular opinion there, she said, was that larger groups are often more productive than smaller.

But the majority of the council was more comfortable with a five-member configuration, at least for now. Finding residents who are willing to serve on commissions is sometimes difficult, council member Terry Donnelly said.

"I think this a good way to start," he said.

In order to be considered for a position on the EDA, applicants must be residents of Farmington. There is some interest among council members in changing those requirements to include Farmington business owners, as well. That, city attorney Joel Jamnik said, would require council to make an amendment to the current requirements, which can be done in the future.

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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