Farmington is considering making changes to its Economic Development Authority (EDA) which may include removing most of the councilmembers who currently make up the organization and replacing them with those who may be better suited to benefit the economic development of the city.
From a Thisweek article on the proposed change:
Farmington’s Economic Development Authority will be restructured next year, and questions were raised about whether the city is over-stepping its role in business development.
The seven-member authority now includes the entire City Council, Planning Commission Member Doug Bonar and one business member – Castle Rock Bank President Jeri Jolley.
Authority members said at their Feb. 27 meeting they would prefer to have one or two City Council members on the EDA and include more business membership.
With other local cities almost entirely comprised of councilmembers some in the community may be concerned if the decisions they make may not be in the best interest of the business community or the taxpayers as a whole. With EDA meetings in cities like Burnsville, which is an EDA made up of only councilmembers, having little or no discussion before items are approved, perhaps Farmington is developing a model other cities can follow.
The Farmington Independent provides an editorial in which they back the business community and hail this as a step in the right direction:
The EDA serves a few purposes for the city. City attorney Joel Jamnik told EDA members Monday the existence of the board opens doors to new sources of funding for projects and allows the city to buy and sell property for redevelopment. It can also serve as another perspective on development issues. A fresh set of eyes that can look at projects from a specific perspective.
The city doesn’t necessarily get that when council members made up the bulk of the board. They were getting one set of eyes looking at an issue twice. That doesn’t do anybody much good.
While it’s fairly clear through the challenges created by the current Farmington EDA structure that change is needed, do you think that all local city Economic Development Authorities should not be made up of a majority of councilmembers and should instead be made up of more locals and business members? Would you prefer that elected officials make the decisions only or would you like to see a model much like Planning Commissions instead? Do you think that a newly formulated EDA will save Farmington from the issues it is currently seeing? Whatever you have to say about this one go ahead and comment on as I’d love to hear your thoughts.