Despite receiving more than $100,000 in public funding, city and county leaders are wondering why a private, non-profit development corporation has dissolved.
“It surprised me, yes. I was very, very surprised,” says Faribault County Commissioner Bill Groskreutz. “We haven’t gotten any written notification of this or a reason from the board of directors.”
On Monday night, membership of the Faribault County Development Corporation (FCDC) voted unanimously to cease operations.
Commissioner John Roper, who decided not to renew his FCDC membership this year, says he had heard “some rumblings around town” that the development group might fold.
Roper says contracts FCDC has with the county, Blue Earth and Wells to provide services are set to expire at the end of this year.
“I know the Blue Earth EDA was unhappy with FCDC,” says Roper. “I didn’t realize they would disband.”
Groskreutz and Roper serve on the county’s Economic Development Authority board and acted as a contact with the development group.
Because the commissioners are not members of FCDC, they were not invited when the vote was taken Monday.
“I don’t know how the corporation works,” says Groskreutz. “I guess they handled it the way they wanted to.”
For the past several years, the county and Blue Earth have given FCDC $50,000 a year to assist in economic development projects. Recently, the city of Wells decided to pay $25,000 a year for services.
Local officials aren’t wasting any time in trying to find a replacement for FCDC.
Groskreutz says Blue Earth City Administrator Tim Ibisch has arranged a presentation on Thursday by officials of Community and Economic Development Associates (CEDA).
According to its website, CEDA was founded in 1986 and is based in Chatfield. It serves communities in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa.