New Richfield EDA has first meeting

 

A new taxing authority in Richfield had its first meeting May 15.

The Richfield Economic Development Authority has been established to potentially fund a host of city programs, covering matters ranging from housing to entrepreneurship.

Convening in the Richfield council chambers, the new body consists of the same members as the city’s Housing and Redevelopment Authority – Mayor Pat Elliott, Councilmember Michael Howard, Mary Supple, Sue Sandahl and Doris Rubenstein. EDA members unanimously voted for Supple as EDA president, and Sandahl as vice president.

While it is still undetermined what specific programs the Richfield EDA will fund, a staff report mentions the city’s Kids at Home program and its Transformation Home Loan program as targets for capital infusion.

The Kids at Home program focuses on keeping children in stable living conditions, while keeping them in Richfield. The Transformation Home Loan Program finances renovation projects for single-family homes.

But with the EDA not set to have a budget until 2018, exactly what else it will do is still to be determined.

“I think we will all get a better idea of what the EDA is and how it operates at budget time in the summer,” Community Development Director John Stark told EDA members. “That’s really where we, you, will decide what it is the EDA will do.”

The EDA is authorized to have wider auspices than the similar Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

“What it will mean, I really believe, is more resources and more flexibility and tools to come to bear to make Richfield a more welcoming place for all comers,” Howard said.

The cost of that for the average Richfield homeowner, owning a house valued between $175,000 and $200,000, will be 28-33 cents per year, according to staff reports.

Once in full operation, the EDA will be scheduled to meet the third Monday of every month, following the HRA meetings. However, with budget work set for later this summer, there isn’t yet much for the fledgling EDA to do.

“I wouldn’t necessarily expect a meeting next month,” Stark said. “I don’t know that we will have any agenda items for you.”

The formation of an EDA became an official Richfield priority at a city goal-setting meeting in March 2016.

Contact Andrew Wig at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @RISunCurrent.