Sales tax revenue booming, Farmington refines economic development

Friday , July 06, 2018 - 5:00 AM

FARMINGTON — Booming sales tax revenue is allowing Farmington City to adopt a more refined approach to economic development.

Station Park and other successes have doubled the city’s sales tax income, from $2.38 million in fiscal year 2012 to a projected $5 million in 2019, according to budget documents.

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As the community approaches build-out in 20 years, it’s important to pursue long-term precision in the city’s development plans, said City Manager Dave Millheim.

To that end, Millheim has hired Brigham Mellor to fill the new post of economic development director. Millheim said this will allow him to spend more time managing the city government and give better focus to economic development projects.

 

Mellor resigned from the Farmington City Council to take the job. He’s also leaving his job as community and economic development director for Syracuse City.

Two years ago, Farmington tightened regulations governing the development of big-box retail stores, Millheim said. 

“We don’t want to see big-box sprawl,” Millheim said. “Some people said, ‘But we won’t get a Walmart and a Target,’ and I said, ‘OK, so what’s your point?’” 

The city has plans for a more than 300-acre business park north of Station Park that will develop over two decades.

“We don’t want to be sloppy, haphazard and reactionary,” Millheim said.

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Because of the state sales tax revenue distribution formula, which allocates funds to cities based 50 percent on point of sale and 50 percent on population, Millheim said Farmington has now become an “exporter” of sales tax revenue to other cities.

“This creates a different value system with cities,” he said. “I’m advising the City Council that we need to be very picky.”

Millheim added, “I don’t want to become elitist, but I am advising that we be very methodical and qualitative, and you can now afford to be. We have limited space available, so we need to intelligently fill a void to serve a purpose.”

Farmington had 18,275 residents according to the 2010 Census. A Census update as of July 1, 2017, estimated the population had grown to 24,066.

Efforts to contact Mellor for comment were not immediately successful.

Holly Gadd, city recorder, said the economic development director salary is $105,000 annually.

You can reach reporter Mark Shenefelt at mshenefelt@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @mshenefelt and like him on Facebook at Facebook.com/SEMarkShenefelt.

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