The Spring Valley Economic Development Authority began the first meeting of 2014 by naming Dave Phillips EDA president and Kim Brown vice president following the usual rotation procedure for non-council representatives.

The makeup of the authority remains the same with Mayor Jim Struzyk and council member Jeff Vehrenkamp representing the city. Past president Steve Himle remains on the EDA as a board member.

Greater Minnesota Partnership (GMNP) Executive Director Dan Dorman was then invited to address the group to discuss the initiatives the partnership worked to pass in 2013, which could potentially be used in Spring Valley.

Dorman has worked as the EDA director for Albert Lea for the last six years and a state legislator for eight years, all on top of owning a tire shop in the Albert Lea area, and through this experience found that much of the funds available in Minnesota are primarily focused on the metro area. This has fueled his passion to bring financial and economic balance between the Twin Cities metro area and Greater Minnesota, which is considered to be areas outside of the Twin Cities metro area.

GMNP was created to develop, support and help pass economic development policies and funding to create jobs and economic growth within the Greater Minnesota area by giving it a voice.

While he admits programs such as this do not always survive, Dorman says, "the history of organizations such as ours isn't very good, but we think the timing is different now. I think the idea of working together and helping each other is something we all get now than we ever did."

He went on to touch on the 2013 initiatives GMNP was able to pass, including the internship tax credit program, business expansion program and a job creation fund.

The internship tax credit was designed to draw college students to rural areas by giving businesses a tax credit to businesses. The credit covers 40 percent of an intern's salary, up to $2,000 per intern.

Dorman explained the partnership is hoping this will lure more young minds to settle in rural Minnesota rather than clustering in the metro areas.

The second initiative is the business expansion program, which became effective as of Jan. 1. The hope is to provide a way, through tax credits, for businesses to stay in their current locations as they expand and grow, instead of moving to the metro area or out of state.

"This would provide a sales tax exemption for 12 years, depending on the arrangement between the state and the business. This would include all sales tax associated with the expansion," Dorman told the group.

The job creation fund is the third initiative created in 2013. This program was created to offer more incentives to help businesses to expand or relocate to Minnesota with businesses in Greater Minnesota being eligible for higher incentives including more years of benefits, higher capital investment rebates and lower employee retention requirements.

Dorman and the Greater Minnesota Partnership plan on being quite busy in 2014, as they will be actively working on 10 separate policies, many of which are based on expanding the three initiatives listed above.

The EDA will consider becoming a member of GMNP at a later date.

In other business:

Economic development director Cathy Enerson presented the authorization letter and bank letters for the revolving loan fund and recommended slight revisions. The group agreed to make the changes to allow the documents to become more precise.

Due to time constraints the EDA agreed to pend the remainder of the agenda, all non-timely items, until the next meeting scheduled for Feb. 12 at 8:30 a.m.