Rochester, MN (KROC-AM News) - The Rochester City Council is scheduled to receive a presentation Monday on the creation of a new city department to better facilitate economic development and other issues associated with a fast-growing community.

City Administrator Steve Rymer has developed a proposal to reorganize certain city functions to establish a new Economic Growth and Community Investment Agency. It would be led by an assistant city administrator and could be comprised of the Public Works Department, Building Safety Department, economic development, redevelopment, affordable housing and a new Community Development Department. Around 250 city employees would fall under the umbrella of the new agency.

The presentation suggests a reworking of the space at City Hall could achieve a goal of locating all of the members of the agency in the same place and designing the space to encourage collaboration and innovation. Rymer also envisions the use of software to provide developers and citizens 24-hours a day access to building permitting tools through an online portal

It’s estimated the creation of the agency would cost around $2.5 million per year with about 25-percent of the cost covered by existing development fees. That would require approximately $2 million annually from property tax revenues. A large part of the cost would be connected to the creation of the Community Development Department and the hiring of a Community Development Director.

The discussions on the creation of the Economic Growth and Community Investment Agency are separate from those involving the possible creation of separate planning departments for the city and county, although it would impact the operations of the current consolidated department.

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