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BREAKING NEWS

Loveall wants accounting of $50K to EDC

By Staff | Feb 6, 2009

Faribault County Commissioner Tom Loveall told the rest of the board he was having second thoughts about giving $50,000 to the new private county development corporation, Go Minnesota.

“I don’t have a problem with Go Minnesota,” Loveall said. “But what does our county economic development group get for this money?”

David Piggott, the director of Go Minnesota, was at last Tuesday’s county board meeting, explaining why – and how – the new corporation was formed.

Piggott said they are forming a nine-member board of directors which will be composed of business lead-ers from around the county.

They are also developing marketing strategies, designing a web presence, and have hired an intern.

Their goal, he said, is to expand economic development in the county, using both private and public funds.

“This is not a new concept,” Piggott said. “It is in place in 49 states.”

Loveall said he was uncomfortable putting county funds into a private enterprise.

“This means a private board of directors will be deciding on how to spend public monies,” he said.

Piggott explained he would be reporting to the county EDA board, which reports to the county board. He added that he did not see a problem, because he is working with the county EDA, Blue Earth EDA and his board of directors .

“That’s the problem,” Loveall said. “You are serving a lot of masters. But in the end, who makes the final decision?”

Piggott said the final decisions would be made by the private corporation board.

Other commissioners disagreed with Loveall, and spoke in favor of the $50,000 donation.

“This system will work,” Commissioner Butch Erichsrud said. “Our $50,000 investment will pay out in the long run.”

Other commissioners said if it did not work out, it could be dropped from the budget next year.

Commissioner Bill Groskreutz said they have spent money and time on economic development programs in the past, sometimes seeing results and sometimes not.

Ann Schuster, chairman of the county’s economic development board, was at the meeting, but said she wasn’t prepared to speak to the issue at the time.

“Our board would love to come to your meeting and discuss the contract with Go Minnesota,” Schuster said.

Loveall said he would like to see that happen soon.