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County EDA opts to hire full-time director

By Staff | Jul 22, 2018

The Faribault County Economic Development Authority passed a motion at the last EDA meeting in Blue Earth to address their needs of additional staffing.

The board voted to hire a full-time county EDA director for five days per week, with a budget not to exceed $100,000. Currently, Mary Kennedy of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA), splits her responsibilities between working as the county EDA director, and as a CEDA development specialist for the city of Blue Earth.

According to EDA board member and county commissioner Bill Groskreutz, the Faribault County Board of Commissioners has not yet addressed the topic of EDA staff budgets.

Meanwhile, Ron Zeigler, president and CEO of CEDA, believes the additional staffing will provide extra flexibility for the county.

“I think this could be a dynamic opportunity where you have a contracted person at four days a week with the city, and you also have a county EDA director at five days a week,” Zeigler said at the meeting. “More importantly, there’s going to be the opportunity to bounce ideas and thoughts off of each other, there’s also going to be the opportunity to expand your hours.”

Also at the meeting, the board approved a loan request in the amount of $62,977 from the Cedar Inn in Blue Earth. As part of the USDA revolving loan fund, the five-year agreement consists of a 3.5 percent interest rate.

Blue Earth city administrator Tim Ibisch, who was also in attendance, explained his reasoning for supporting the loan request.

“The loan request seemed viable because the business has cash flow. They have shown some losses, but that is to be expected,” Ibisch said. “This is what the loan fund is for, to promote local businesses, and money is moving, so it seems reasonable.”

According to Cedar Inn business owner Marc Meier, the loan will go towards upgrades of the car wash facility. The building was originally constructed in 1980.

The next county EDA meeting will take place on Aug. 21 in Wells at 3 p.m.