By Starrla Cray
WINSTED, WAVERLY, MAYER, HOWARD LAKE, WATERTOWN, MN From promotion efforts to industrial parks, local economic development authorities (EDAs) are committed to enhancing business sectors in the communities they serve.
Each city has a slightly different approach to economic expansion. Some have a three, five, or seven-member EDA of community volunteers that meet every month, while others utilize their city councils for EDA-related functions.
“It depends how active the city and the community want to be in development,” Winsted City Administrator Andrew Elbert said.
“EDAs have a very wide latitude. They are part of government, for sure, but they can do a lot of things the council can’t do,” Waverly EDA president Connie Holmes said. “They can issue bonds, buy and sell property, and build apartments. “They are the organization that develops the business policy for a city.”
Although EDAs can acquire property and facilities, they cannot issue debt without an election, according to the League of Minnesota Cities handbook. Also, EDAs can create economic development districts, but the districts must be contiguous, and qualify as blighted under the tax increment law.
“Minnesota state law is quite strict,” Holmes said.
An EDA can use the levy powers of an HRA (housing and redevelopment authority), but is limited to no more than 0.0185 percent of the total taxable market value in the city.
The Economic Development Partnership of Wright County (www.wrightpartnership.org) also has information regarding retail, commercial, and industrial relocation within the county.
“The EDAs are part of the cities, but they work with the counties It’s a partnership,” Cokato City Administrator Don Levens said.
The EDA board in Winsted consists of Mayor Steve Stotko, council members Bonnie Quast, Tom Ollig, Dave Mochinski, and Tom Wiemiller, and community members Don Guggemos and Gerard Stifter.
“It’s been pretty successful for economic development,” Elbert said. “Our council has been pretty proactive.”
Specifically related to budgeting, the City of Winsted does not levyoutside the general levy rate-authority, according to Elbert. Therefore, any projectwith economic development intent is weighted against Winsted’s othergeneral fund needs within the budgeting process.
To learn more about the Winsted EDA, contact Elbert at (320) 485-2366.
Waverly EDA board members include president Holmes, vice president Jason Fink, and members Keith Harris, Sarah Larson, Sarah Bartosch, Jennifer Carpentier, and Nicole Scheldrup.
They typically meet the fourth Monday of each month at 7 p.m. in the Waverly city office, but lately, meetings have been every other month because of the slow economy.
“I wish there was more development,” Holmes said.
The EDA funded Waverly’s comprehensive plan, and is also active in marketing efforts.
“If a business wanted to come into Waverly and needed a business subsidy, we would seriously look at that,” Holmes said. “We want to do what we can to help them.”
For more information, contact Holmes at (763) 658-1585 or contact Waverly City Hall at (763) 658-4217.
Council members Bruce Osborne and Tice Stieve-McPadden, along with community members Erick Boder, Tim Duckworth, and Tom Stifter make up the EDA board in Mayer.
“Since there’s not a lot going on right now, we’ve been meeting quarterly,” Mayer City Administrator Luayn Murphy said.
The EDA started in May 2005, and since then it has been exploring business retention and expansion possibilities in the community.
Mayer has applied for grants that benefit downtown development.
“We’ve had a couple of businesses interested,” Murphy said.
A few years ago, Mayer also started a revolving loan fund, but no one has utilized that resource yet.
To learn more about Mayer’s EDA, call city hall at (952) 657-1502.
Howard Lake’s EDA is made up of city council members, including Mayor Richard Lammers, Jan Gilmer, Tom Kutz, Mike Mitchell, and Pete Zimmerman.
“The City is working on some new programs for business development with the new legislation on pooling TIF funds,” Howard Lake City Administrator Kelly Hinnenkamp noted. “We will probably have this out in the next month or so.”
TIF (tax increment financing) has been widely used as a development tool in Howard Lake.
The city also has low-interest loan money to assist businesses, and is in the process of adding a new program through the Small Cities Development Program. This is a joint application with the City of Annandale.
To learn more about the Howard Lake EDA, contact city hall at (320) 543-3670.
Members of Watertown’s EDA include Cory Mitteness, James Rivord, Rick Mann, Scott Koehnen, and Steve Duske.
They meet the second Thursday of each month at 5 p.m. in the Watertown city council chambers.
The Watertown city website has additional information about the EDA. Go to www.ci.watertown.mn.us and find the “city government” tab. Go to “commissions” and click on “EDA.”
The web page has a list of commercial and industrial properties available in Watertown.
For more information about Watertown’s EDA, contact city hall at (952) 955-2695 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.