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Farmington leaders speak on progress during State of the City address

Farmington City Administrator David McKnight shared council priorities, how the city was recently upgraded to a AA-plus credit rating, and how the city will review solid waste delivery options during the annual Farmington State of the City address Monday, April 22. Kara Hildreth / Contributor

FARMINGTON — Progress and patience were discussed at the annual Farmington State of the City address held Monday, April 22, inside City Hall. Community, business and city leaders were all present at the Dakota County Regional Chamber of Commerce-hosted event.

Leading Farmington

Farmington Mayor Todd Larson spoke about city services, the library, parks and trails. He commended public safety staff who keep residents safe and give back to the community with fundraising efforts.

In regards to public safety, the city of Farmington came in at 17th to rank in the top 20 safest cities in Minnesota.

Larson has led Farmington since 2009 — his term expires at the end of 2020 — and he reports he is not seeking re-election. Larson touted the city services with the library and the high-quality city parks and trails.

Larson introduced Farmington City Administrator David McKnight who has led city staff since 2011.

McKnight summarized the four City Council priorities that he said are made by design from a 20,000-foot level.

The first priority is to continue working to attain sound financial practices. The second calls for a focus on development for a successful future. Third will be to build on established partnerships, and fourth is to continue to deliver high-quality city services.

In terms of financial practices, McKnight said the city will work to implement the 2030 financial plan along with the 2020 budget.

"I am happy to say as of last week that our bond rating was upgraded to double-A plus and as a city administrator, this is Christmas Day to me, and it is a result of a lot of hard work by a lot of people," McKnight said.

Three reasons for the upgraded financial rating can be credited to a growing economy in Farmington, strong financial management, and a lower load with the debt burden today and projected into the future, McKnight said.

"This year we will look at reviewing options for solid waste delivery," McKnight said. "We are very unique in that we as a city are that collector, and we have had discussions on this issue a few times in the past year."

McKnight said the regulation on where the city can dispose of solid waste in Farmington have become more complex and that is the first priority issue.

"The second is that of cost — the cost to get rid of the garbage that we produce in our homes and businesses continue to go frankly through the roof each year and it is something we have to look at."

Representing in Washington

In attendance was U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, who represents the 2nd Congressional District and is part of the U.S. House Committee on Small Business.

Craig said Farmington has shepherded tremendous growth throughout Dakota County in recent years. She said the city's economic development and low unemployment are better than the national average.

"My main priorities are the priorities of my committee, and I have been working with Dakota County ... to make sure we are improving your priorities in a transportation package that I am still optimistic and hopeful will actually pass the U.S. House," Craig said. "I know the president and the administration want an infrastructure package and we are willing to work with them, and I do hope I am able to bring home resources for Dakota County."

Craig also serves on the U.S. House Committee on Agriculture.

"I understand how important access to these markets are for the nation's farmers and I am committed to making sure we are working to open these markets to the farmers in our country, and I know it is a trying time for the nation's farmers just like it was in the 1980s when my own grandfather lost his job and ultimately his farm," Craig said. "I still believe in this country and that there is more that unites us than divides us."