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Et Cetera …

Firms will take notice

Fairmont economic development director Linsey Preuss is a committed, competent and well-respected professional. She knows her stuff.

Such as the fact that consultants who look for new locations for businesses will look away from cities embroiled in political turmoil. Cities like Fairmont. Preuss gathered this insight straight from those consultants at a recent conference she attended.

“We need to be aware that this (local division) is affecting us,” Preuss says. “When a site selector or company is looking at us, they’re taking that into consideration.”

Amen to that.

Funds wasted elsewhere

Martin County commissioners this week reiterated a concern that seems to come up annually. They would like to see the state of Minnesota create a sustainable, perpetual funding mechanism to pay for roads and bridges. They made clear that Martin County is falling behind.

We have to agree with commissioners that this issue is of major concern. There are many places the state pushes money, but it’s often difficult to see the value when basic transportation safety is neglected. The state’s Human Services agency is wasteful. How many of its millions could be better spent here and elsewhere on our roads?

Options must be weighed

Speaking of roads, the city of Fairmont is considering a half-cent hike in the local sales tax to fund street improvements. The proposal would need legislative approval, then the OK from local voters, then final approval from the City Council.

We cannot say at this point if this concept is the best route to go. The city will have to outline to residents what can be gained, at what cost and in comparison to alternatives.

Fairmont certainly has streets that need work, and it is a common local frustration that this matter seems to be only slowly being addressed.

‘Process’ seems broken

The Minnesota Court of Appeals this week rejected vital permitting for a PolyMet copper-nickel mine in northeastern Minnesota. This is a blow to economic development in the state.

PolyMet’s project underwent years of review and met the standards of state regulatory agencies. Why does the state establish a permitting process if it doesn’t really have any meaning?

The project now heads back to the Department of Natural Resources, which had already moved it along. So the business can expect more costs and delays. Not a good “system.”

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