EDA seeks extra year for FCDC
Faribault County Commissioners will be asked at their meeting Tuesday to fund a private, non-profit economic development group for an additional year.
The past two years the county has paid Faribault County Development Corporation $50,000 to provide various services for one year.
However, the county’s Economic Development Authority board voted during a Wednesday special meeting to recommend the county enter into a two-year contract for the same annual fee.
The EDA’s executive committee wanted three years and an additional $5,000 for marketing expenses.
That didn’t sit too well with board member Bill Groskreutz, who is also a county commissioner.
“As FCDC grew, our financial commitment was suppose to lessen. I don’t see that happening. It seems to be increasing,” he says.
Board member and Commissioner John Roper agrees with Groskreutz that FCDC should be “weaned off” county funding. But, not until they get more members.
EDA board chairman Jake Anderson, who is a member of the executive committee, says a three-year agreement is a way to “lock in the price.”
Groskreutz has been consistent in saying that funding the group was not intended to be ongoing.
After some discussion, Anderson dropped the request for the additional $5,000.
FCDC executive director Linsey Warmka was asked if their membership was increasing.
She says just recently a Winnebago manufacturer and the Chamber of Commerce had joined.
“We’re growing slowly, but surely. We all thought it would be quicker,” she says.
Groskreutz asked if the executive committee has reviewed Warmka’s job performance.
Anderson says an evaluation has not be done because no goals for Warmka had been set.
Groskreutz, who lives in Wells, wanted to know how active and visible Warmka has been throughout the county.
“I get questions in this part of the county of how much services businesses get here,” he says.
Warmka says she has attended many meetings in cities throughout the county.
“I have worked with businesses, even though they are not members,” she says. “We do work in Wells, we just don’t have any members from here.”
When the EDA eliminated its director’s position and opted to hire FCDC instead, the county board stopped budgeting money for the board.
The only funding is for FCDC. Board members do not receive any pay for meetings or mileage reimbursement.
When Groskreutz’s motion to vote on a one-year contract died for lack of a second, Roper proposed a two-year agreement as a compromise.
That passed on a 5-1 vote.