City council seeks ways to market city’s strengths
The Albertville City Council discussed ways the city stimulate development and market the city as part of the city’s economic development plan.
The council also discussed how to increase recycling in the city.
City planner Al Brixius reviewed the Albertville Vision Study and economic development plan with the council.
“The Albertville Vision Study identified economic development as a community priority,” Brixius said in his memo to the council. “The study recommended a proactive approach to economic development.”
He then listed objectives:
• Stimulate commercial and industrial development within the city.
• Market and sell city-owned properties to reduce city land supply, land holding costs and community infrastructure debt.
• Expand commercial and industrial tax base to reduce tax burden for city residents and businesses.
• Grow local employment opportunities.
Brixius then outlined various steps city staff could take to put the city into the position to market and quickly react to potential development interests. This included setting up a contact group that could answer development questions most frequently asked by a prospective business.
“We would recommend the group to represent the city’s interests in marketing the community to prospective businesses and industrial,” he said.
The group would include a city council member, city administrator and city planner.
He then recommended city staff assemble information to present to prospective businesses and industries. This information includes community strengths, such as proximity to the metro, access to Interstate 94, growing area, and school district. Next was inventory of available lots, such as city-owned, private-owned, lot size and lot costs. The third piece of information to present is utility availability, such as sewer size, water, and utility costs.
The next component was zoning/development review process, such as application forms, fees, sign standards, zoning standards and park dedication fees. The last information piece was finance, including tax rates and financial incentives like tax increment financing and tax abatement.
Brixius next outlined available lots in the city, including city-owned lots in northwest Albertville, Barthel Industrial Park, and Prairie Run (51st Street residential).
Brixius then suggested the city council consider strategies for implementation, and recommended five areas.
The first area is marketing. This goal could be accommodated by setting up a developer’s meeting to identify potential commercial development with prospective developers. At the top of this list are developers who have done work in the city.
The second marketing goal is to meet with existing industries, the third is to identify sales prices for land, and the fourth is to work with bond consultants to identify workable financing options and research grant opportunities.
The fifth marketing goal is to define economic development priorities.
This topic was for the council’s discussion only.
“There was no formal action,” city clerk Kim Olson later said. “Staff will pull together numbers and stats on lots and meet with developers.”
In other news, the council discussed the city’s recycling program.
The city is currently under contract with Allied Waste Services for the curbside/single-sort recycling program. In late 2010 when the council directed staff to draft a contract with Allied, the motion included direction for grant funds to be dedicated to “recycling expenses or possibly a document shredding day.”
The intent of the motion was to use the funds to give back to the community and promote the recycling program.
The more residents recycle, the more funds the city gets from the state, so the city is interested in increasing the recycling numbers so it can donate more to the community.
Programs the council may wish to pursue include document shredding, customer rewards program, service to businesses and large item pick-up day.
The council agreed it would like to consider doing some community education and outreach regarding the recycling program.
In other action, the council:
ACCEPTED a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting, as presented by Mayor Jillian Hendrickson to city finance director Tina Lannes. Fewer than 20 percent of Minnesota cities receive this award.
HEARD that the city’s website project is in phase two, uploading data.
DISCUSSED options for the city newsletter, such as mailing it with the utility bill, or hiring an contractor.
DISCUSSED televising city council meetings. Staff will do research on cost estimates.