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County EDA says ‘thanks, but no thanks’

By Staff | Feb 25, 2018

The now disbanded Faribault County Development Corporation expressed interest in donating their website domain to the Faribault County EDA. As it turned out, the Economic Development Authority refused the offer.

At their recent meeting in Blue Earth on Feb. 20, the EDA passed a motion to not continue FCDC’s website contract with Golden Shovel Agency.

Founded in 2009, Golden Shovel specializes in meeting the web technology needs of various economic development agencies. The FCDC originally signed a $17,350 contract with Golden Shovel to begin designs of a website.

A total of $8,750 was paid upfront by the FCDC to begin the project. Had the Faribault County EDA accepted the FCDC’s donation, they would have been responsible for the remaining balance of $8,750.

An additional $3,000 for another year of web maintenance and hosting was also part of the agreement. When addressing the board, EDA chairman John Herman cited budget concerns as his reasoning for being leary of contractual agreement.

“I have a website that Bevcomm handles for me and I didn’t pay anything near this,” Herman said. “My maintenance fee is not even a fraction of what they’re asking. I’m very hesitant to try and come up with the funds to continue this for a year because we don’t have that kind of money budgeted to do anything this year anyway.”

Meanwhile, new Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA) director Mary Kennedy indicated she has contacted representatives of Golden Shovel, but she has yet to receive a response.

Overall improvement of daycare planning within the county was also a topic of conversation at the meeting. Herman believes Faribault County’s daycare system has been in decline over the last five years, with the cost of operation being among the main obstacles.

“The prices that people in this rural area are willing to pay or afford to pay for daycare aren’t enough to make a daycare profitable. The reality is people are maybe going to have to get used to paying a little bit more for daycare,” Herman said.

Meanwhile, EDA board member and county commissioner Bill Groskreutz expressed the need for an increase in daycare center options. Groskreutz noted the lifestyles of Faribault County parents working outside the county as a contributing factor for daycare needs.

“Even if we are a bedroom community for people who commute to work, we still need that because most people are not going to haul their kids around to Mankato and go to a daycare there,” Groskreutz explained.

The need for vocational schooling and job training in manual labor fields such as carpentry and welding was also discussed in the meeting. The board feels an expanded awareness of this particular job market will help retain younger residents in the area.

“It’s really important that we work on doing some manufacturing tours,” Kennedy added at the end of the meeting. “There are a lot of moving parts when organizing and facilitating between schools and the businesses, so coming up with a plan of attack to get everything addressed is very important.”

The Faribault County EDA will hold their next meeting in Wells on April 17.