County’s EDA votes for CEDA
The Faribault County Economic Development Authority (EDA) had one item on their agenda at a special meeting last Wednesday evening.
Decide whether they wanted to hire Community Economic Development Associates (CEDA), of Chatfield, as their EDA agent, or not.
And, after about an hour of discussion and a presentation from two representatives from CEDA, the board voted to send a recommendation to the Faribault County Board of Commissioners to hire CEDA.
However, the EDA board had plenty of questions about just how this would work.
Since the city of Blue Earth had already agreed to a contract with CEDA for three days a week, the county EDA members discussed whether they needed more than the two remaining days of the week.
“Maybe it would end up being two and a half days a week each,” said EDA member John Roper.
EDA member Lars Bierly suggested that either way they did the number of days, could the two entities contract for five days and split it anyway they wanted, or did it need to be two separate contracts with CEDA.
“I just don’t see why we would want to over-complicate this,” Bierly said. “Or why we would need to have a joint powers commission to run this. We can just have a gentlemans’ agreement.”
At issue is the fact that if the EDA hired CEDA for two days a week, the cost would be at $59.50 per hour, or $41,122 annually. But contracting for five days a week would cost $79,679 a year, or $38.30 per hour.
CEDA representative Cris Gastner was not sure if they could make that work.
“If it is one contract then yes,” he said. “But if it is two separate contracts it would be the higher rate. We have other places where the contracts are separate among neighboring cities.”
The county EDA decided to recommend to the County Board that these issues be worked out with the city of Blue Earth.
The issue of where the new CEDA person would have their office was also discussed.
“I don’t think it should be in the Blue Earth City Hall,” said EDA member and county commissioner Bill Groskruetz. “People from other towns are not going to want to go into the Blue Earth City Hall to talk with the county EDA.”
The EDA members also had several questions for the CEDA representatives about how their company works, and how they would operate in Faribault County.
“Communication is the main thing,” Gastner said. “That is why we always have our staff person in an office in the community they serve,” he says. “We also want them to be out in the community.”
Gastner added that CEDA has hired a new staff person who will be the one to come serve Faribault County, and described her as “being full of energy.”
The CEDA reps and the EDA board also discussed some of the issues with economic development.
Gastner said his group, which now has contracts with 32 cities sees three main problems with business development everywhere CEDA is located. Those are daycare, workforce and housing.
“And these are all connected,” he added. “And they affect business development and expansion.”