December 2018 Newsletter Article by Todd Kays

In Fiscal Year 2017, the First District was involved in more than 140 specific projects in the areas of planning, GIS, grant writing/project administration, small business finance and other community/economic development activities. We were also fortunate to assist members in obtaining over 8 million dollars in grants and 19 million dollars in low interest loans for various community and economic development projects. Since 2008 the First District has helped its members receive 65 million dollars in grants resulting in a return on investment of nearly $29 for every dollar of membership dues paid.

I always like to take this time of the year to promote the First District Staff and remind our membership of the myriad of services that we have provided for more than 47 years. I am very grateful and proud of our team as they continue to provide technical services to our members with complete professionalism. Our 14 dedicated employees have over 190 combined years of experience working for our First District members. In addition, this year we had several important anniversaries – Amy (10 years), Luke (10 years), Darin (20 years), and Todd (25 years).

Your staff ‘s expertise is in the following areas:

Planning for Community and Economic Development – The First District provides a large variety of planning services including but not limited to Annexation Studies, Capital Improvement Plans, Utility Rate Analysis, Comprehensive Plans, Emergency Plans, Housing Needs Assessments, Policy Development, Special Purpose Ordinances, Strategic Planning, Tax Increment Financing and Zoning Ordinance Development. Your Community and Economic Development Planning contacts are Todd Kays, Luke Muller, Tom Nealon and Mark McLaughlin.

Geographic Information Systems (GIS) – Geographic Information Systems (GIS) is an important, inter-related component of all the services provided by the First District. Staff develops and maintains a wide variety of GIS data used for the creation of maps, policy development, project funding, GIS training and GIS webhosting. Your GIS contacts at the First District are Ryan Hartley, Darin Stein, Amy Arnold, and Jackie Erickson

Grant/Loan Application & Project Administration – One of the most common areas of assistance the First District provides to its members is identifying, acquiring and administering funding sources for local community and economic development projects. Such projects range from sewer and water infrastructure to community facilities like community centers or fire halls. Your Grant/Loan Application and Project Administration contact is Greg Maag

Business Development Our sister organization the First District Development Company is a Small Business Administration Certified Development Company which promotes economic development and job creation by providing long-term commercial loans. Your Business Development contacts are Paula Hulscher, Amy Waite, Shelby Kraemer, and Andrea Tesch.

Office Management – Where would we be without Suzie Zirbel. It is hard to believe that she has been our Office Manager for 2.5 years already. She takes care of the daily office grind while also taking care of us.

So, as you are thinking about your upcoming 2019 projects that involve the expertise listed above just remember to give us a call.

As I sit here thinking about where 2018 went, I need to take this opportunity to say thanks. First, thank you to the staff for their hard work throughout the year. Finally, on behalf of the entire First District staff, we want to thank the membership for their continued support. It truly has been a privilege serving you and we look forward to a prosperous new year.