The Fairmont City Council made a decision after a closed session Monday to end its agreement with Elizabeth Bloomquist, who has served as City Attorney for more than 30 years. “The council is split, and that includes me,” Mayor Debbie Foster announced at the end of the closed session to evaluate the attorney’s job performance. Foster and council members Bruce Peters and Wayne Hasek confirmed they are the three who support Bloomquist’s job performance. Tom Hawkins, Randy Lubenow and Ruth Cyphers are dissatisfied. No explanations were given as to why there is satisfaction or dissatisfaction.
This comes a week after a combative Fairmont City Council work session debating the merits of maintaining the city’s in-house legal counsel versus contracting for legal service .“How we have decided to proceed as a group … is for the council to give direction to the city administrator along with the mayor and a council member to negotiate a separation agreement with the City Attorney for a council vote at our next council meeting, which will be May 13. That is supported by the council as a whole as far as where we go from here,” Foster said.
The Fairmont City Council on Monday approved application for a $300,000 Minnesota Investment Fund grant to assist Zierke Built Manufacturing with financing equipment and creating jobs. The Investment Fund awards money to local governments that, in turn, provide loans to assist in business expansions. All projects must meet minimum criteria for private investment, number of jobs created or retained and wages paid.
Zierke would repay the loan to the city, with a portion of the repayment going back to MIF and a portion kept by the Fairmont Economic Development Authority as part of the program. FEDA will forgive $60,000 of the Zierke loan in support of the company’s efforts to create 20 new full-time jobs at a wage of $16 per hour plus benefits.
The council unanimously approved selling a lot at 407 N. Elm Street and a house at 415 E. Sixth St. to Habitat for Humanity of Martin and Faribault Counties. The city gained possession of both properties through tax forfeiture. Habitat will pay closing costs for the empty lot, and $1,500 and closing costs for the house.
“In both cases, it gets property back on the tax roles,” said Mike Humpal, City Administrator.
Staci Thompson, executive director of Habitat for Humanity, thanked the city for its generosity. She said a Schmeeckle Foundation grant will cover half of the cost to move a donated house from 433 Lake Ave. to the empty lot on North Elm. A family from Fairmont already has been selected for the home.