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BE EDA ponders new contract with CEDA

By Staff | Sep 2, 2018

Mary Kennedy at work at her office at the Ag Center in Blue Earth. Currently Kennedy, who is an economic development specialist from CEDA, works for both the city of Blue Earth EDA and Faribault County EDA, but that could all change in 2019. With the county wanting a full-time person, and the city discussing needing a person four days per week, an additional CEDA person would be necessary to work here.

With the Faribault County Economic Development Authority’s decision to hire a full-time, five-day a week EDA director, the Blue Earth Economic Development Authority now has an issue to deal with.

Currently, both the County EDA and the Blue Earth EDA share one full-time economic development specialist, Mary Kennedy, who is hired through the company Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA).

Kennedy works for the city of Blue Earth and its EDA for three days per week, and for Faribault County and its EDA the other two days per week. The charge from CEDA for her services is shared between the county and city of Blue Earth.

With the County EDA now wanting a five-day per week EDA person, hired through CEDA, the Blue Earth EDA will need to now hire an economic development specialist on their own.

“As long as we won’t be sharing with the county next year, I would like to see us increase the contract from three days per week to four days,” city administrator Tim Ibisch told the EDA board at their meeting on Thursday, Aug. 9. “We have enough projects going on that we need her to be working for us more than the three days.”

While the EDA board did not make any formal motion on the matter, they did discuss the cost, which would increase to $70,255 per year.

Ibisch said the increase could be added to the EDA’s part of the city budget for 2019, which is currently under discussion by the City Council.

In other business at their August meeting, the EDA board:

Discussed the possible purchase of additional land near the new Golden Spike Business Park on the north side of Blue Earth.

“The owner of the property is interested in selling,” Ibisch said. “It could be desirable to acquire the land for possible future development.”

The EDA did not take any action, but asked staff to continue to investigate and find out more information.

Continued to discuss the possibility of forming a Tax Increment Financing (TIF) District in downtown Blue Earth for the purpose of helping with a proposed Three Sisters project.

The EDA board also learned that the demolition work at the Three Sisters is complete and that Sept. 4 is the first target date for the Rural Renaissance Project to come up with financing for their proposal for their plan.

Also discussed the financing for the current Blue Earth Chamber of Commerce Welcome Center/Giant Museum building project.

Ibisch reported the $270,000 state grant for the building project has been used up in payments for the work completed to date, so the city will be moving towards their other means of financing the project from here on.

Awarded Blue Earth Hometown Restaurant with the EDA’s Business Spotlight certificate for August.