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McKnight City making gains on priorities

David McKnight

FARMINGTON — Staff is working to achieve the 2018 priorities Farmington City Council outlined at the beginning of the year, City Administrator David McKnight said at the Monday, Aug. 6. council meeting.

Many long-term capital improvement projects have been discussed at work sessions, as well ways to pay for projects in years ahead. McKnight said previously ignored city projects and issues are now being placed on the table for discussion.

The council finalized priorities in five areas: development, partnerships, financial, service delivery and special projects. The goals serve as a roadmap.

Development

The Regetta Fields development is breaking ground off Highway 50. The 61-plot, single-family housing project is south of Farmington High School.

"If you have passed by lately, you can see model homes coming out of the ground and that project is moving along swiftly," McKnight said. City staff members now are working on two new subdivisions that will come to fruition soon.

Farmington Economic Development Authority continues to provide façade improvements and readiness grants to small businesses. The city is ready to talk with corporations and businesses that may be looking to relocate or open a new business here.

"You as a city council and us as staff continue to support new businesses in town, and recently we had Dollar Tree open and Crystal's Cuddle Bugs Childcare, EZ Auto reopened, and this week The Rebel Chef restaurant will open this Friday," McKnight said.

"Council is aware of how much time we have spent working on the 2040 Comprehensive Plan, and our draft plan is done and is being reviewed by our neighbors," McKnight added.

Earlier this year, city staff and council worked to develop legislative priorities for the first time during McKnight's tenure, he said, and those priorities were shared with two local legislators.

City projects

This year city staff and council have worked to make progress on the Rambling River Center. This week there is a meeting to discuss potential partnerships that could aid with funding and upgrades near the senior center.

"You have also approved potential feasibility projects for projects at Schmitz-Maki Arena that will offer partnerships, and last week we met with the architect and the high school coaches from the hockey association to ensure the two projects get input before we move ahead any farther," McKnight said.

City staff is working with nine other cities in the county and Dakota County CDA on the Dakota Broadband Board.

"We have also spent a significant time working with Empire Township on the 2040 Comp Plan, the Highway 3-related issues and future land use development issues and street alignments, so we have had plenty of partnership work here this year," McKnight said.

Financial work

City staff reported a positive end result to the 2017 budget.

"The 2030 Financial Plan and all related capital improvement plans are being updated for presentation as part of the 2019 budget process," McKnight said.

Officials are working to restart the mill and overlay street work projects in 2019. McKnight said these street projects stopped in 2009 due to the economic downturn.

"The three-tiered approach of sealcoating, mill and overlay and street reconstruction to street maintenance will return in 2019," McKnight said.

City staff has communicated that it will take time to catch up on city street maintenance.

"But we need to find a way to pay for all that, and that is the work that we are doing now with the budget process," McKnight said.

City signs, corridor

Council directed the staff to have the city monument signs cleaned. Now the city sign located off Pilot Knob Road on the north edge of town is lighted.

This week the city issued requests for proposals on the Highway 3 Corridor project.

City council agreed to include wayfinding signage as part of the Hwy. 3 Corridor project.

Police priorities

For 2018, Farmington Police prioritized personnel, community outreach, facility maintenance and technology.

The police department will work with council to implement a staffing study and develop five- and 10-year population projections to address staffing needs.

Farmington Police will work with Farmington School District to determine if there is a need for a school resource officer. In terms of community outreach, the department will work to expand the police and school relationship that help them to develop a safe environment.

The police continue to work on a communications notification plan using social media platforms.

Farmington Police also will develop a plan to increase security of buildings and grounds. The police will continue to research new video evidence-gathering technology and will use research equipment to enable officers to access data in the field.

In terms of technology, the department is working to develop a new app that will allow citizens an online reporting option.

At the end of the Monday night meeting, the Farmington City Council went into closed session to discuss the annual review of city administrator. The report will be presented at the Aug. 20 council meeting.