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Lyon Co. takes next step in EDA planning

MARSHALL — Lyon County may be setting more groundwork for a county-wide economic development authority, after action taken at Tuesday’s county board meeting.

County commissioners received an economic development plan created from development discussions earlier this year. Then they voted to form a local committee that could make it possible to establish a county EDA.

Over the past year, county commissioners have been discussing the possibility of forming a county-wide economic development authority. Starting in January, planning sessions were held with representatives from most cities in Lyon County, including city officials and staff from Marshall, Tracy, Minneota, Cottonwood, Lynd, Ghent, Garvin and Balaton.

A copy of a development plan that came out of those discussions was part of the county board packet at Tuesday’s meeting. According to the task force, the top economic development priorities for Lyon County include developing financial resources like grant and loan opportunities, and marketing and promoting the county. Other priorities included encouraging housing development and business recruitment.

Lyon County “has done a lot of groundwork in the past,” that could be used to help form a county-wide EDA, said County Administrator Loren Stomberg. However, state laws say counties need to get a recommendation from a local committee in order to form an EDA. State statutes say the committee needs to have between 11 and 15 members appointed by the county board, and the committee members have to include at least one city official, one township official, and one housing and redevelopment official.

Once it is formed, the committee would need to report its recommendations back to the county board within 90 days of its first meeting.

Members of the task force from January were willing to be on the new committee, said Commissioner Rick Anderson. However, Lyon County would need to reach out to townships to get the required representation on the committee.

Commissioners voted in favor of forming a local committee, and Stomberg said he would bring membership suggestions back to the board.

After a local committee gives a recommendation on whether or not to form a county EDA, the county could choose to accept it or not to move forward, Stomberg said Tuesday.

Lyon County had a past partnership with the Marshall EDA for a shared economic development director. Before the county began exploring forming its own EDA, there had been some discussion between Marshall and Lyon County about partnering again.

There hasn’t been further discussion about partnering directly with the city, said Marshall EDA Director Lauren Deutz. However, Deutz and other representatives from the city of Marshall were part of the planning process earlier this year.

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