In a brief meeting of the Chatfield City Council on Monday, July 8, Chris Giesen of the Chatfield Economic Development Authority (EDA) addressed the recommendation the EDA put forward to join the Rochester Area Economic Development, Inc. (RAEDI).

Giesen said there has been a greater focus on regionalism in economic development and RAEDI was that regional group. RAEDI is a private organization and is funded by its members. It focuses on regional planning in using economic resources.

"It's essentially the business leaders of the area," explained Giesen, comparing it to the more local EDA in Chatfield.

The cost of membership is $2,800 per year. Giesen said it would be important for the city to see how its membership would affect their voice in initiatives like Rochester's Destination Medical Center.

"The region is going to be growing and the big question is will we have a voice at that table? Will we have Chatfield's interests represented?" Giesen questioned.

He said there are some things that could be misunderstood or misrepresented about Chatfield if the city wasn't participating in RAEDI. Giesen said someone would have to step up and represent the city.

Mayor Russell Smith said he thought it was a good idea to be involved in RAEDI. "You never know what we are going to get down the road from this," he stated.

Giesen commented that just because Chatfield might be a member, didn't mean new businesses would start rolling in immediately. He said Chatfield would have to deal with an unequal voting power in RAEDI.

Councilman Ken Jacobson said this was something Chatfield probably should have been involved in earlier on.

Councilman Mike Urban said the city had been a member before, but hadn't had active representation. He said there should be a point man or two to represent the city at all times.

Councilman Robert Pederson said, for the money, it seemed like a reasonable venture. The council unanimously approved its participation.

Area roads

City Clerk Joel Young updated the council on the west Chatfield rock roads and the Public Works' response. Residents have been asking the city to improve the roads to a bituminous overlay.

"The committee is not asking should they be improved, but how we are going to pay for them," Young said.

He said the city would probably improve all the rock roads within the city limits. Smith said the city has been considering this for the past 10 years.

Young also reported that the $500,000 state grant for the County Road 10 Industrial Park was returned to the state since the new business had relocated to another place within Chatfield.

Clerk's report

In his clerk's report, Young encouraged city council members to attend the Southeast Minnesota League of Municipalities meeting July 30 in Red Wing.

He also said the city of Rochester is ready to start paying cities back the sales tax money determined from the Rochester Sales Tax Agreement. The first half of the money could be received starting in July.

Mayor Smith said the council would deal with accepting that agreement with Rochester in its next meeting, adding it wouldn't affect how much the city receives from Rochester.

He also reminded the council that the city is looking for volunteers to water plants up and down main street in Chatfield.

Other business

In other matters, the council handled the following issues:

• The council authorized the city attorney to draft an ordinance to sell a portion of outlot B for $1,192. Outlot B is located behind Donegal Lane Southeast where Young said was hard to access by the city for maintenance. Young said several other neighboring property owners were individually interested in purchasing pieces of the lot. City Attorney Frederick Suhler said there may need to be future approval of subdividing the platted outlot. Young said the Planning Commission dealt with the piece as a conveyance instead of a re-plat.

• The council approved the second reading and subsequent publication for Ordinance 408, which consistently deals with post-frame or pole building construction across all zoning districts.